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  Horseshoe Lake - State Park (Madison County)   

West-Central Region

3321 Highway 111
Granite City, IL 62040


Picture of a Ringneck Pheasant
Site Map Fishing Hunting
Bird-Walk Hiking Natural Features
Boating History Picnicking

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.

Natural Features

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 lake.

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.

History - 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 Lake’s 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.

Fishing and Boating

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 are 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 camping.


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


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 conflicts.
  • 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.

Parks & Recreation

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Office of Land Management
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
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