Randolph County State Recreation Area
is a mecca for outdoor recreational activities. Fishing, hiking, picnicking,
boating, hunting and camping are just a few of the choices, keeping
even the most outdoorsman content on 1,101 acres. Located 5 miles
northeast of Chester in Randolph County, it lies in the rolling hill
country of southern Illinois. Offering a cool retreat from hot summer
days, well shaded picnic areas, hiking trails and scenic forest stands
await park visitors. Theres a diverse offering at beautiful
Randolph County State Recreation Area.
In 1958, land was purchased and plans started to build a dam and spillway for a 65-acre lake. The lake was completed
in 1961 and since that time, recreational facilities have been added to
provide picnic shelters, toilets, a boat ramp and a concession stand.
Randolph County Lake is a clear-water lake stocked with channel
catfish, redear and bluegill sunfish, walleye, saugeye and rainbow trout.
Game fish such as largemouth bass, green sunfish, bullhead and crappie
also can be found so no angler should be disappointed. Boat motors are limited to 10 HP.
The area is renowned for its wooded areas
and abundance of songbirds and wildlife. Hikers on the trail may see
woodpeckers, hawks, turkeys, deer, squirrels and waterfowl as they wind
through woods and open fields, and around the lakeshore. An additional 11.6 miles
of horse trails provide riders with the same panorama of sights and
Fifty-one Class BE campsites, 95 Class C campsites, an equestrian site with eight stalls for horses, and four Class D (primitive) campsites are available throughout the area. A group
camp area has its own shelter, stone fireplace, electricity and tables.
A wonderful escape from a hot summer
day awaits visitors in any of the six picnic areas. Nestled among hickory,
oak, sweetgum and tulip trees, the picnic areas have shelters, tables,
fire grills, and water fountains. Some of the shelters can be reserved through the site office,
so plan ahead and bring your family and friends.
Squirrel hunters will find plenty of
grey and fox squirrels which can be hunted with shotgun or bow. Dove,
deer, rabbit, quail and woodcock are popular game species. Hunters must
check in at the park office for a hunter fact sheet, map and regulations.
Lake Hunter Fact Sheet | Randolph
Hunter Fact Sheet
On cold, wintry days, the horse trails
provide a perfect path for cross-country skiing enthusiasts. For nature
observers, winter is a great time to see a variety of wildlife
along the hiking trails and scenic areas.
For those who want additional
nature opportunities, several satellite areas are close by. Turkey
Bluffs State Fish and Wildlife Area is located south of Chester and
features picnic areas with scenic overlooks. Hunting for all species
(statewide regulations apply) is permissible at Turkey Bluffs. Fults Hill
Prairie is located a few miles north of Prairie du Rocher and offers
a spectacular view from the bluff overlooking the Mississippi floodplain. Prairie flowers, soaring eagles and hawks provide a breathtaking
experience. Piney Creek Nature Preserve is one of two locations in the
state that possesses the state-endangered shortleaf pine trees. A hiking trail crosses through
a ravine with steep canyon walls and past a running stream with waterfalls.
This scenic adventure will challenge the most avid hiker. Kidd Lake State
Natural Area also is nearby and provides quiet retreats from daily routine.
All access to the area is from the west entrance off Palestine Rd. Coming
from the North on Route 3 one will turn east on Shawneetown Trail south
of the town of Ellis Grove. At Palestine turn south on Palestine Road
and proceed two miles then turn left at the entrance sign. Coming from
the north on Route 150 turn west on Shawneetown Trail and proceed to
Palestine then turn south on Palestine Road and proceed to the entrance
sign and turn left into the area. Coming from the south from Chester
head north on Palestine Road to the entrance sign and turn right into
- 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.