Horseshoe Lake is located off Highway 111 in the southwestern part of Illinois
in Madison County. Only
minutes away from a large, surrounding urban area, the park offers a wide
variety of recreational opportunities on 2,960 acres.
Horseshoe Lake State Park is situated in a low flood plain that follows
the Mississippi River to the Kentucky border. Before the present
system of levies was constructed, heavy spring floods would cause the
river to overflow its banks, sometimes changing directions and
cutting a new channel through these bottomlands. During this process an old
river section was cut off from the channel forming a natural oxbow
All lakes, whether man-made or natural, begin
to fill in as soon as they are formed. Particles of soil, called silt, are
carried in the wind and in water runoff from nearby fields and ditches.
Generally, older lakes are more shallower than new lakes.
Horseshoe Lake is a very old lake, as illustrated by its 3-foot depth.
- American Indian
Horseshoe Lake has been inhabited by various
American Indian groups. The earliest evidence of their
activity at this site dates 8000 B.C. during the Archaic Period. Artifacts
have also been found which fall into the Woodland period 1000 B.C.-1000
A.D. During this time the Mighty Metropolis known as Cahokia
Mounds was built. Nearby, the 30,000 to 40,000 mound builders farmed extensively
but still relied on Horseshoe Lakes rich food source. Today there
still remains an earthen platform mound inside the park boundaries.
Five shelters are provided for group picnicking while small areas
with convenient parking for the family outing are scattered around the
lake. Three playgrounds and
two volleyball areas are located within the park.
The lake contains channel catfish, bass, crappie, bluegill,
carp and buffalo. Boat fishing is allowed except during waterfowl season.
A 50 horsepower limit exists for all watercraft. Three boat ramps and a handicap accessible fishing pier
available for public use.
The park accommodates 48 tent or trailers. A sanitary dump station,
pit toilets, and water hydrants are conveniently located. All campers
must secure a permit from the site office. The Campground is open from
May 1st - Sept 30th, and Reservations are not being accepted for
To accommodate the waterfowl hunter, numerous public blinds are located
on the lake. Hunting is allowed only from these blinds. Dove hunting is allowed during the month of September on the peninsula.
Controlled pheasant hunting is available. Check with the park office for
further hunting regulations.
Horseshoe Lake Hunter
Fact Sheet | Chouteau Island Hunter Fact Sheet | Bohm Woods Nature Preserve
Archery Deer Application - Walker's Island | Horseshoe Lake
Archery Deer Application - Bend Road | Bohm Woods Archery Deer Application
Four miles of hiking trails wander through the island's natural vegetation.
- 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.