Pyramid State Recreation
Area consists of heavily forested hills and many lakes and ponds. Southern
Illinois University owned and used 924 acres for research, transferring the land to the state in
1968 for a State Recreation Area. Additional land acquisition,
and the latest acquisition of the Arch Mineral Properties, and the purchase
of the 520 acre Satellite area known as Campbell Pond bringing
the total overall acreage to 19,701, making Pyramid the largest State Recreation
Area in Illinois. The name derives from a coal mine that once existed
More than 500 acres of water
form lakes varying in size from 0.1 acres to 276 acres. The largest lake
on the property, known as Super Lake, is located on the Arch
and known as the Captain Unit. Most of the lakes on the
original Pyramid Site were created prior to 1950. Since many of the lakes
can be reached only by foot, Pyramid affords an opportunity for the angler
to get away from crowds.
In 1962, the state's surface
strip-mine reclamation law came into effect. The most common method of
reclamation in the 1930s was tree planting, but this was discouraging
as the trees brought no quick economic return. A mature hardwood timber
consisting of mostly white oak and hickory on the west edge of the park
is an area about 20 acres which was not mined.
Several stands of conifers were planted years ago, and there is a timber cover
of cottonwood, box elder and sycamore. Oak and hickory trees are increasing
Many species of wildlife
may be found in the area, including songbirds, deer, squirrels, beavers,
rabbits, turkeys, bobcats, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, weasels, minks, woodchucks
Picnic areas are numerous
but small due to the terrain. Picnic tables and charcoal grills are available,
and there is one picnic shelter. Pit toilets are located throughout the
There are 16.5 miles of foot, horse and mountain bike trails. Future
plans include increasing the mileage of the trail system to expand to the Arch property.
Tent and trailer camping
are permitted at designated camping areas only. There are three Class
C camping areas, Class D hike-in campsites, a small equestrian camp and
a youth group camping area. Water and a trailer dump station are available
near the site office. There are no electrical hookups in the camping areas.
Fisherman will find that
largemouth bass and bluegill are the predominant species. Lost Lake (a
hike-in lake) and some of the other lakes contain a hybrid of green sunfish/bluegill.
Rdear and channel catfish are present in some lakes.
Canoeing is popular because
of the rough terrain, and boats with 10-hp motors or less are allowed.
Boat launches are available at some of the larger lakes.
While waterfowl hunting is not
permitted on the original section of Pyramid, however, it
is allowed at the Arch Mineral Property known as Galum, Captain and Denmark units. In addition, deer and upland game hunting are offered
on this area. Check for site-specific information. This area is a managed
quality hunting area which means only bucks deer with a minimum
of 4 points on one side may be taken. Upland game is by drawing, and a free upland
game application must be submitted by mail to the Springfield office.
Conant Hunter Fact Sheet | Hunter
Fact Sheet | Campbell
- 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 Commerce and Community
Affairs' 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.