It seems appropriate for one of the largest
campgrounds in the Illinois state park system to be located on the largest
manmade lake in Illinois. Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is a 3,000-acre
site on the west shore of Carlyle Lake, a Kaskaskia River impoundment.
The site is located 3 miles north of Carlyle and 2 miles east of Illinois
Route 127 in Clinton County.
The site is leased by the Department of Natural
Resources from the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, which built the 26,000-acre lake. Carlyle attorney
Eldon Hazlet was the first president of the Kaskaskia Valley Association, which organized and promoted
construction of two of Illinois three largest reservoir/recreational
complexes - Carlyle Lake and Lake Shelbyville - plus other improvements
on the Kaskaskia River.
more than 800,000 visitors visit Eldon Hazlet to camp, boat, fish, hunt,
picnic, bird watch and to hike more than 9 miles of trails. Also popular are the sailboat regattas, held almost every summer weekend. Whatever
type of recreation you choose, its probably offered at Carlyle Lake.
Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is probably
best known for its camping facilities. The Illini Campground has 328 Class
A campsites with 30 and 50 amp electrical hook-ups, 36 Class C campsites
for walk-in tent camping and two rustic Rent-A-Cabins.
Seven Class A campsites are accessible to
individuals in wheelchairs. The campground occupies almost 1 1/2 miles
of the Carlyle Lake shoreline, and most of the campsites are within easy
reach of the water. Many campers keep their boats in the coves located
along the campground. Illini Campground Map
Three shower buildings are located in the
campground, plus numerous privy toilets. Recreational amenities include
several sets of playground equipment, a basketball court, a sand volleyball
court, horseshoe pits, an amphitheater and hiking trails. Plenty of parking
is available for vehicles and boat trailers. To register for a campsite
see one of the campground hosts.
can be made online at www.reserveamerica.com for Class A sites 1-65, Handicap Site 93, Rent-A-Cabins, and shelters (reservation
Reservations for regular campsites require a $5 non-refundable reservation fee and payment of the full camping and utility fees at the time the reservation is made. For more information on our fees, please review our camping fee information. Payment of the entire camping and utility fee amount will guarantee that the reservation will be held for the entire length of the stay.
Campsites may be reserved for a maximum of 14 nights per 30-day period and reservation must be made at least five days before the campsite is needed. Reservations for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Columbus Day weekends require a three-night minimum stay. All other weekends require a two-night minimum stay. Cancellations made five days before arrival will lose the $5 reservation fee, but the remainder of the camping fee will be refunded. Cancellations made less than five days before arrival will be charged the $5 fee and the first nights camping fee; the remainder of the camping fees will be refunded.
The Eldon Hazlet Campground
Store, located at the entrance to the Illini Campground, is a 2,000-square-foot store which contains groceries, camping and fishing supplies,
clothes, live bait, ice and firewood. A public laundry room and outdoor
patio also are available. Please call the store at (618) 594-8701 for hours
Shore State Park is a 3-mile long park located on Carlyle Lake's southeast side,
approximately 3 miles east of Carlyle on Route 50. The park
provides recreational opportunities, including a small boat access, day-use
areas for picnicking, a 3/4 mile hiking trail, as well as outstanding
bank fishing opportunities. Observing wildlife, especially white-tailed
deer, is another popular activity. For more information on South Shore
State Park, call Eldon Hazlet Site Office at (618) 594-3015.
A public swimming pool is located behind
the campground store. The pool is open form Memorial Day weekend through
Labor Day weekend. With a zero entry to 4 1/2 foot depth and staffed by
a lifeguard, the pool is ideal for families with small children. Maximum
capacity is 450 swimmers. A user fee is required to enter the pool facility. For more information please call 618-594-8701.
Wildlife abounds at Eldon Hazlet, in part
due to the natural resource management program implemented at the park.
Various types of warmseason grasses and legumes are planted to provide
supplemental cover and food for wildlife. Brush piles and nest structures,
such as bluebird boxes, have been placed throughout the park. The restoration
of natural habitats, such as prairie and wetlands, also has benefited
local wildlife populations.
Across from the site office, is a 3-acre tallgrass
prairie with more than 50 species of native plants. Numerous
species of wildflowers bloom in the summer, including compass plant, blazing
star, purple coneflowers, rattlesnake master, American feverfew and stiff
Deer, red foxes, raccoons, squirrels, woodchucks,
quail, doves and songbirds, including bluebirds, are among the wildlife
species to be seen. More than 200,000 waterfowl stop at the lake on their
migratory travels north and south each year.
Along with waterfowl, other types of birds commonly seen at the park include
wading birds, such as herons and egrets, as well as shorebirds, songbirds and raptors.
combination of wide open water, low surrounding terrain and strong winds
provides the conditions which make Carlyle Lake one of the Midwests most
popular sailing lakes. Regional and national regattas are held here, and
in 1994 the US Olympic Festival games sailing competition was hosted
by Eldon Hazlet State Park and the Carlyle Sailing Association.
A 40-acre sailboat harbor, protected in a
deep inlet, is at the south end of the park and is operated as a land-based
marina, meaning all boats are stored on land. The sailboat harbor is leased
from the park by the Carlyle Sailing Association, which operates
it as a concession for members. Non-members may launch boats
In addition to boat launching privileges,
payment of the fee entitles the non-member to use the harbors
other facilities - showers, picnic tables, play equipment,
day-use docks, and a large shelter with electricity and a barbecue pit.
When slots are available, parking privileges in the harbors
members-only overnight boat parking area may be extended to non-members
staying several days at the park and paying the launching fee.
The harbor complex has a conventional
boat launching ramp and three electric hoists which can place sailboats
up to 2,000 pounds (in the 16- to 18-foot range) in the water from the
harbor wall. For additional information, contact the harbor master at
(618) 594-3622 or visit www.csa-sailing.org
Because of its central location relative
to the lake, the park is a great place to launch a boat. Three boat ramps
are available to the public free-of-charge. With a four-lane boat ramp with a handicapped accessible courtesy dock,
two picnic shelters and privy toilets, Allen Branch Day Use Area
is one of the most popular boat launching spots on the lake. Apache Day Use Area has a two-lane
ramp, picnic shelter, play equipment, fish cleaning station and privy
toilets. Peppenhorst Branch has a graveled small-boat ramp used by anglers
Hiking | Hiking Trail Guide
than 9 miles of trails are available to hikers at Eldon Hazlet. The 3-mile
Cherokee Trail has three separate loops that pass through a mature oak-hickory
forest over gently rolling terrain, offering great views of the lake.
The Pawnee Trail is a 1-mile loop trail running along the highest point
on Carlyle Lake. Both the Cherokee and Pawnee trails lead to Burnside
Cemetery, a restored cemetery with tombstones dating to the 1830s.
The Kaskaskian Trail is a 2 1/2-mile loop
trail that begins at the park office and passes by the youth campground,
the Pawnee Trail, various day-use areas and the Eagle trail, a 3/4-mile
loop near the north end of Illini Campground. A 1/4 -mile accessible interpretive
trail is located within the 3-acre prairie restoration directly across
from the park office. The 1-mile Illini Trail is located across from the
Campground Store and loops around the Illini Fishing Pond. All trails
are closed Wednesday through Sunday during pheasant season.
Eight picnic areas are available in the park,
all of which are located near the lake. Tables and grills are provided
at all of the picnic areas, and five of the areas have electricity-equipped
shelters that can be reserved at www.ReserveAmerica.com. The largest
shelter is 40-by-80-foot located at the Olympic Festival Day Use Area.
Certainly one of the most popular activities
at Carlyle Lake is fishing. More than 30 species of fish occur at the
lake, including such local favorites as white bass, channel catfish, crappie,
largemouth bass, bluegill, carp and buffalo. Bank fishing is allowed anywhere
in the park. The Allen Branch area is used most often and offers an accessible
fishing pier. A fish cleaning station (also accessible) is located at
Apache Boat Ramp.
Illini Pond is a 4-acre
fishing pond with a walk-out pier and located across from the Campground
Store on the Illini Trail. The lake is stocked with bass, bluegill and
catfish and provides easy fishing opportunities for children.
The park has more than 50 acres designated
for archery deer, dove, and upland game hunting. In addition,
a controlled pheasant hunting program is held every year,
usually from early November to early January. Permits and controlled
pheasant hunting information is available on the IDNR website. Eldon Hazlet can accommodate 125 hunters per day, Wednesday through Sunday.
park also offers pheasant hunting and archery deer hunting opportunities
for disabled hunters. For more information and site specific regulations
on hunting, please contact the park office at (618) 594-3015 and review
An archery range with an elevated platform
is open all year except during the controlled
Youth group camping is available
at the Osage Youth Group Area. With easy access to the lake and plenty
of hiking trails, this area is a favorite of scout and church groups.
The campground has a picnic shelter, privy toilets and drinking water.
Although the area is not reservable, it is very large and can accommodate
hundreds of campers. Youth groups may schedule nature hikes or interpretive
programs by calling the site interpreter.
cottages overlooking the lake are available for rent offering spectacular views of the lake and the 780 square foot units contain a kitchenette, bar,
living area, bedroom, loft and deck. The kitchenette is equipped with
stove, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker and sink. Other amenities
include cable TV, linens and cookware. Twelve complimentary boat docks
are available to cottage renters upon request. For more information on
prices and availability, call 618-594-8702 or e-mail¬†HazletCottages@gmail.com.¬†
- While groups of 25 or
more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required
to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling
- At least one responsible
adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
- Pets must be kept on
leashes at all times.
- Actions by nature can
result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park
office before you make your trip.
- We hope you enjoy your
stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
- For more information
on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity,
Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
- Telecommunication Device
for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175
for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.