Dixon Springs State
Park is one of several state parks in the Illinois Shawnee Hills. The
park is on a giant block of rock which was dropped 200 feet along a fault
line that extends northwesterly across Pope County.
The 801 acre Pope County park
is about 10 miles west of Golconda on IL Rt. 146 near its junction
with IL Rt. 45. The first land acquisition was in 1946.
The area around the
park was occupied by various tribes of Algonquins who, after the Shawnee
had been driven from Tennessee, settled near the mouth of the Wabash
River. Dixon Springs was one of their favorite camping grounds and was
called "Kitchemuske-nee-be" for the Great Medicine Waters.
One of the better-known Indian Trails, which the early French called the "Grand Trace,"
passed to the west of the park and south to Fort Massac, then branched
out into lesser trails. Much of the "Grand Trace" is IL Rt.145, one of the most scenic highways in the state, running nearly
all of its length south from Harrisburg through the Shawnee National Forest.
This section of the
state was part of an Indian Reservation occupied for a time by about 6,000
Native Americans. Like the buffalo, most of the Indians were gone by the
Dixon Springs takes
its name from William Dixon, one of the first white settlers to build
a home in this section, who obtained a school land warrant in 1848 from
Governor Augustus C. French. His cabin was a landmark for many years as
was an old log church on the adjoining knoll.
A small community
grew up at Dixon Springs with a general store, post office, blacksmith
shop, grist mill and several churches.
Dixon Springs became
a 19th century health spa which attracted hundreds to the seven springs
of mineral-enriched water. A bathhouse provided mineral or soft water
baths, hot or cold, available at any time. The natural beauty of the area
and its interesting stone formations helped to give the park valley a
more equable temperature in the summer than most of southern Illinois.
This made the resort so popular that people came to Golconda by steamboat excursions
from as far away as Paducah, KY, Evansville, IN, and Cairo.
From Golconda they then traveled by train to within a couple miles of the park.
During rainy weather rivulets cascade down the hills in the
park forming waterfalls of varying sizes and heights.
Bold cliffs and crags
overhang a bubbling brook while large boulders, overgrown with ferns,
lichens and moss fringe the hillside. Giant century-old trees interlock
above the small creek as cliffs rise on either side and huge boulders
are scattered through the valley.
are the names given numerous points of interest, including Album Rock,
Red Man's Retreat, Wolf Pen, Lover's Leap, Ghost Dance, Pluto's Cave.
Alligator Rock, the Chain of Rocks, Devil's Workshop and Honeycomb Rock.
The principle canyon has walls nearly 60 feet high with a long, narrow
Deer, squirrels, rabbits,
groundhogs and foxes scamper around the park's oak, cypress, gum, pine, sycamore,
walnut, persimmon, hickory, birch and maple forest. Dogwood and catalpa
trees blossom profusely in season. In the spring the Jack-in-the-pulpit,
violet, lady's slipper, Mayapple, and sweet William brighten the natural
beauty of the park.
at the park include a modern swimming pool, bathhouse and 45-foot water
slide provided for swimmers' enjoyment. A lifeguard is on duty at all times.
Towering oaks, elms and birch trees shade the pool. A concession stand
near the pool provides a variety of refreshments.
tables and outdoor stoves are available at three shaded picnic areas.
Two picnic shelters, playgrounds, parking areas and drinking water
also are available. The site has a Class B trailer camping area with
a sanitary dumping station and electricity available. Also available
are 10 sites for primitive camping, two hiking trails, two basketball
courts, three horseshoe pits, two volleyball courts and an archery
For more hunting information see: Hunter Fact
Springs | Dog
Dixon Springs State Park is located in Pope County, just 30 miles
south of Harrisburg, IL, or 20 miles north of Paducah, Ky. To reach
Dixon Springs State Park from I-24 traveling East, take exit #16
to Rt. 146. At the stop sign turn left and the park is 13 miles
on the left. If you are traveling West on I-24 you take exit #16
to Rt. 146. At the stop sign turn right and the park entrance is
13 miles on the left. The park entrance sign is across from the
Chocolate Factory. Dixon Springs State Park is 1 mile east of Rt.