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State Park Guide

Last Update: April1, 2001

1. Argyle Lake  State Park

Location: Just 7 miles east of Macomb, Argyle Lake also offers picnicking, camping, hiking and boating facilities in a scenic, natural setting.   [G-3] {H-4/5}
Features:  Beautiful hills and valleys.  The region itself long was a source of coal, clay and limestone. In fact, in times past it was common for individuals to open and dig their own "drift mines" to supplement their personal incomes. The park contains a replica of one such operation.
Hiking: 5 miles of rugged foot trails through luxuriant virgin forests There are 12 trails and most are classified as difficult to very difficult.  Blackberry and Pitch Pine trails are rated as moderate. Be sure to look for the beaver dams along Shore Trail.
Camping: 86 Class A campsites, 24 Class B, 18 Class C, and 31 Class D (primitive) sites.
Directions: From Chicago, take either Interstate 80 or Interstate 88 west to Interstate 74. Take Interstate 74 South to Route 34. Take Route 34 West to Route 67. Take Route 67 South to Route 136. Take Route 136 West to Colchester and the park is 2 miles north of Colchester on Coal Road. Coal Road runs north of the Shell Station in Colchester.

5.  Buffalo Rocks State Park
Location: Approximately three miles west of Ottawa in LaSalle County, on a bluff which was once an island in the Illinois River. (D-7){E-10}
Features:  High level view of the Illinois River. - - "Effigy Tumuli" was the vision of artist Michael Heizer who, in tribute to the Native American burial grounds that inspired it,  created this unique "earth art," which depicts five sculptures native to the Illinois River, a snake, turtle, catfish, frog and a water strider.
Hiking:  The River Bluff Trail offers a walk high above the Illinois River with two observation decks with spectacular views of the Illinois River. The Woodland Trail provides an opportunity for close-up of the trees, plants and wildlife prospering in the park.

Camping:  There are three primitive camping areas along the trail between Buffalo Rock and Utica. The campsites have fire rings but no water or restroom facilities are available. Sites are accessible by walk or bike in only, no vehicular access is allowed. One of the camping areas designed for youth camping has a shelter with a fireplace.
Directions From Ottawa: From Rte. 6 turn south on W.D. Boyce Memorial Dr. Continue on Boyce to Ottawa Ave. and turn right. Proceed on Ottawa Ave., which becomes Dee Bennett Rd for approximately three miles, the park is located on the left and the I&M Canal Access area is on the right.
Directions From Utica: Take Dee Bennett Rd. east five miles to Buffalo Rock.

8. Delabar State Park

Location: On the Mississippi River about 1 1/2 miles north of Oquawka near Illinois Route 164.  [E-2]{F-4}
Hiking: Two marked trails covering nearly two miles through the woods are available for nature lovers and wildlife observers.  Camping:  Areas for both tent and trailers are available.  Group camping is available.

11. Edward Madigan State Park

Location: The park is along Salt Creek in Logan County on the south edge of Lincoln.  [H-6]{I/J-8}
  The park offers a scenic seven mile hiking/bicycle trail, which meanders gently through a variety of grasses, trees and creek bottoms. There is also a 3/4 mile jogging trail for physical fitness enthusiasts. 

17. Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park

Location: The Hennepin Canal Parkway is a 104.5-mile linear park which spans five counties (Rock Island, Bureau, Henry, Lee and Whiteside) with a Visitor Center near Sheffield.[D-3 to 5 to C-5]{E-5 to 8 to D-7/8}
  An old tow path, originally intended but never used by animals for towing boats along the canal's main line and feeder routs, provides 155 miles of one-foot-after-the-other fun. View the canal, its locks and aqueducts, not to mention the animal life. If you're up to something more challenging, try the 4.5-mile trek in the main complex which is moderately difficult and gives you a broad taste of landscape from tall timber to grasslands to marsh.

NO CAMPING along the canal.   CLOSEST CAMPSITES - EAST END: Starved Rock S.P.(20 miles), Buffalo Rock S.P.(21 miles) -CENTRAL:  Johnson-Sauk Trail S.P. (6 miles south on SR 78) - WEST END:  Johnson-Sauk Trail S.P. (33 miles) Prophetstown State Recreation Area (28 miles) - NORTH END:  Prophetstown S.P.(30 miles), Mirrison-Rockwood S.P. (12 miles)Castle Rocks S.P. (28 milres)

18. Illini State Park

Location: South of the Illinois River from Marseilles and U.S. Route 6. [D/E-7]{E-10}
  The northern edge of the park is bordered by the Great Falls of the Illinois River. In just two miles, the river drops three feet, creating beautiful roaring rapids. Less than one mile north of the park is the historic Illinois-Michigan Canal.

  Hikers will enjoy exploring the park and its many scenic and historic offerings.
  There is something for every type of camper at Illini State Park. Both tent and trailer sites are offered and some of the sites offer breathtaking views of the river. A youth area is available for youth groups and should be reserved in advance through the site office.

21. Johnson-Sauk Trail State Park

Location: Off Illinois Route 78, Johnson-Sauk Trail is 6 miles south of Interstate 80 and 5 miles north of Kewanee.  [D-4/5]{E-7}
Johnson-Sauk Trail has 10 to 15 miles of trails, ranging from 1/4 mile to 1 1/2 miles in length, from easy to moderate.  If added miles are desired, the trails have been designed to connect so you can link one to another.
  The Chief Keokuk Campground features 68 pads (Class A camping), plus 25 tent sites (Class C camping).  In addition, there are two sites available for youth group camping.

22. Jubilee College State Park

Location: Northwest of Peoria in Peoria County between the towns of Kickapoo and Brimfield, just off U.S. Route 150. [F-5]{G-7}
  The college was one of the earliest educational enterprises in Illinois. Jubilee is situated in the Illinoisan drift-plain, and is deeply eroded into many complex valley systems, from near-level ridgetops and floodplains to steep slope ravines. Bedrock exposures are numerous and include shale, sandstone, limestone and coal. The highest elevation is 660 feet.
Ten miles of hiking trails are open year-round. Please carry out everything that was carried in. Equestrian and cross-country ski trails are also used for hiking.
Campground facilities accommodate recreational vehicles or tents and include a shower building with flush toilets, a trailer dump station, graveled pads, and grills, with water hydrants and privies conveniently located. Groups are welcome.

23.  Kankakee River State Park

Location: 7 miles northwest of Bourbonais on State Route 102. (E-9){E/F-12}
Several prehistoric sites are documented within Kankakee River State Park. The park is within a region used by Illini and Miami Indians at the time of the first European contact in the 1670s and 1680s.  In 1830 it was the site of the last great Indian Council. 
Hiking:  Hiking, biking and cross-country ski trails are on the river's north side. A 3-mile route along Rock Creek lets hikers take in the beauty of limestone canyons and a frothy waterfall. A bicycle trail begins at Davis Creek Area and travels 10.5 miles of trails in the form of a linear trail along the river and a loop in the west end of the park.
Potawatomi Campground, a Class A area, has 110 sites and a rent-a-cabin in a wooded setting. More than 150 sites are offered at Chippewa Campground, which has Class B electric, C and D facilities.  Davis Creek Campground is available by reservation for chaperoned youth and church groups.
Canoeing:  A four or six hour canoe trip to the park from Bird Park in Kankakee to the State Park.  Additional trips are available.

24. Kickapoo State Park

Location: Approximately 6 miles west of Danville in Vermilion County.[G-9]{I-13}
Features:  Once a scarred wasteland ravaged by turn-of-the-century strip-mine operations, Kickapoo State Park now provide an outdoor playground with something to appeal to every member of the family.  Twenty two deep water ponds with a total of 221 acres of water.  Lushly forested uplands and bottomlands along the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River.  Archaeological excavations have provided evidence of a prehistoric village on the Middle Fork River near the park that was home to Native Americans of the Woodland and Mississippian cultures between A.D. 500 and 1500.  A Kickapoo village was located at the confluence of the Middle Fork and Salt Fork rivers. It was in this village that Kennekuk, the "Kickapoo Prophet" lived.
Hiking:  If you're into physical fitness, the 7.6-mile Out & Back running and hiking trail offers you a chance to exercise while enjoying awe-inspiring natural scenery. The course is rated "difficult"and is designed to meet the demands of experienced outdoor hikers or runners, passing through forests, bottomlands and the edge areas of abandoned croplands.  If you want a less demanding walk, there are a number of shorter and easier hiking trails in the park, as well as several 3/4-mile nature trails.
Camping:  For campers, Kickapoo has two major campgrounds for tent and trailer camping, with 217 sites. Campers occupying sites with electrical hookups are required to pay for the availability of electricity even if the service is not used. A limited number of walk-in sites are available for primitive campers.  Several campsites can be reserved in advance by writing the site or by applying in person.

The park is easily reached via Interstate 74.  The Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area is only 10 miles to the north and provides river access and camping.

28. Matthiessen State Park

Location: In central LaSalle County, approximately three miles south of Utica and three miles east of Oglesby.  [D/E-6/7]{E-9/10}
The many unusual and beautiful rock formations make a trip to Matthiessen State Park an educational as well as a fun experience.  The park has several mineral springs, and The park is alive with common and uncommon species of flora and fauna.
  The park has seven miles of well-marked, well-surfaced hiking trails for a relaxing walk or a vigorous hike. Large trail maps are located at all major trail intersections so visitors can choose a variety of routes. The upper area and bluff tops are easy hiking paths for the novice, but the trails into the interiors of the two Dells may be difficult to negotiate.

33.  Navoo State Park

Location: 148-acre park, on the south edge of Nauvoo along Illinois Route 96. [F-1]{H-3}
The park's main trail, Locust Lane at 1.5 miles, shows off some of the park's best features. As the trail winds around the lake and through timbered areas, hikers can see and hear a variety of birds. There's also a three-eighths-mile loop from the
camping area that's accessible to senior citizens and to those in wheelchairs. A short trail connects the main picnic and playground area to the dam, and there's also a short, one-way jaunt to Gilligan's Island on Lake Horton. 
Nauvoo State Park offers 150 camping spaces, equally divided between Class B and Class C areas. A youth group area is centrally located in the park

34. Rock Island State Trail

Location: Stretching for 26 miles from Alta, in Peoria County, to Toulon, in Stark County, the park offers many natural and architectural attractions in a tree-canopied corridor that is only 50 to 100 feet wide.[E,F-5]{F-7 to G-8}
Prairie grass and wildflowers co-exist as remnants of early rail travel along the trail. Just north of Alta, an arched culvert provides a lovely backdrop for the natural beauty of the area. At the Peoria and Stark County line, a tall grass prairie remnant provides a step back into time and allows visitors to see the Illinois that the early settlers experienced. Just a few miles from the Toulon access area, a trestle bridge spans the Spoon River between Wyoming and Toulon. 
HIKING: The 26 mile long Rock Island Trail is an abandoned railway corridor, and the first railway conversion completed by the Department of Natural Resources.  Only non-motorized traffic is allowed on the trail, and equestrian use is not permitted.
The Class D (primitive) camping area is located between Alta and Dunlap in the Kickapoo Creek Recreation Area and is accessible by trail only. Facilities include pit toilets, fire pads, picnic tables, picnic shelter and water.

36.  Siloam Springs State Park

Location: 9 miles east of Quincy, IL. on IL Rte 104. [H-2]{J-4} 
Features:  It's an ideal setting for outdoor visits, whether your interest is hunting, fishing, camping, boating,

picnicking, hiking or bird watching. The park is surrounded by luxuriantly forested gullies and scenic crests alive with wild roses, black-eyed Susans, white false indigo and snapdragons.
Hiking:  There are about 12 miles of scenic hiking trails that go from valleys to flatlands throughout the park, including a combination 6-mile hiking and backpacking trail. Most trails are easy, but Hoot Owl at 1.5 miles and Red Oak backpack trail at 4 miles are moderate. Four primitive camp sites are also available for those who wish to hike to them.
Camping: If you want to spend a night or two under the stars, there are 98 Class A camp sites, 84 Class B camp sites, and four backpack camp sites, in addition to a special group campground.
Directions: Take County Road 1200 N. Follow signs 12 miles to County Road 2873E, then South 3 miles to park entrance. Park Office is 1.5 miles from entrance. Park signs in place from Rte. 104 to park entrance.R.R. 1, Box 204, Clayton, IL 62324 (near Mt. Sterling)

40.  Starved Rock State Park

Location: one mile south of Utica and midway between the cities of LaSalle-Peru and Ottawa.
Features: The park is best known for its fascinating rock formations, primarily St. Peter sandstone, laid down in a huge shallow inland sea more than 425 million years ago and later brought to the surface. The backdrop for your activities are 18 canyons formed by glacial meltwater and stream erosion. They slice dramatically through tree-covered, sandstone bluffs for four miles along the south side of the Illinois River. This area has been home to humans from as early as 10,000 years ago.  Hopewellian, Woodland and Mississippian Native American cultures thrived here. The most recent and probably most numerous group of Native Americans to live here was the Illiniwek, from the 1500s to the 1700s.
Exploring the majestic bluffs and canyons is the park’s primary attraction, and there are 13 miles of well-marked trails to help you enjoy them.
Camping: There is a large campground in the south of the park, with 133 Class A campsites complete with electricity, showers and flush toilets, a separate youth group camping area and a children’s playground. Seven campsites are accessible for people with disabilities.
Directions: I-39 southbound: South to I-80 east (exit #59). Go 2 miles to exit #81 (Rt. 178, Utica). Go south (right) 3 miles on Rt. 178 and follow the signs into the Park. I-39 northbound: North to Exit #48 (Tonica exit). Go east (right) for approximately 5 miles to the T-intersection, which is Rt. 178. Go north (left) for approximately 5 miles and follow the signs into the Park. I-80 Eastbound and Westbound: Get off at exit #81 (Rt.178, Utica). Go south 3 miles on Rt. 178 and follow the signs into the Park. From the Chicago area: Take I-294 or I-355 south to I-55. Take I-55 south to I-80. Go west on I-80, 45 miles to Exit #81 (Rt. 178, Utica). Go south (left) 3 miles on Rt. 178 and follow the signs into the Park.

41.  Weinberg-King State Park

Location: 772-acre park, including a 4-acre pond, is in Schuyler County 3 miles east of Augusta north of Route 101. [G-2]{I-4}
The terrain is rolling with steep hillsides. Williams Creek picturesquely meanders through the park for about 2 miles. The average depth of the creek is about 3 feet. The majority of mature trees are locust and osage orange, although pines, autumn olive, honeysuckle, oak and walnut trees have been planted. Many wildflowers are found on the hillsides and along the creek.
Hiking:  Horseback riders will find 30 miles of good trail through the park. Snowmobiling is allowed during the winter months.
Camping:  Camping in the horse area is available for overnite stays. Up to 60 units can be accomodated. Camping space is also provided for recreational campers as well as hunters using the park.