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  Red Hills - State Park   

South Region

3571 Ranger Lane
Sumner, IL 62466

Site Map Fishing Local Attractions
Boating Hiking Picnicking
Camping History Trails
Concession Horseback Riding Winter Sports
Directions Hunting  

For wildflowers, fresh foliage and soothing breezes in the spring...picnicking, camping, hiking, boating and fishing in the summer...appreciating the brilliant hues of autumn's colorful plumage...or ice skating and ice fishing in the brisk, blue winter...Red Hills State Park in Lawerence County is waiting for you.

In southeastern Illinois midway between Olney and Lawrenceville on U.S. 50, Red Hills is a carefully preserved and maintained 967-acres of high wooded hills, deep ravines, captivating meadows and year-round springs. It's the perfect setting for natural relaxation and outdoor activities. The sparkling 40-acre lake is ideal for fishing and boating.

Pause to enjoy the spectacular scenic view from atop Red Hills--the highest point of land between St. Louis and Cincinnati--and the 120-foot tower and cross rising from its summit, this unspoiled sanctuary from everyday life provides a great opportunity to relax and rediscover nature.

A satellite area of the park, the 627-acre Chauncey Marsh Nature Preserve contains the best remaining example of what is called a Wabash Border Marsh Ecosystem, with marshes, dry and wet prairie, lush bottomland forest and thriving riverine communities. During late July and early August beautiful pink and white hibiscus and hairy rose mallow are in bloom.

Veterans' Point is a one-quarter acre parcel of land that is available to local veteran groups to honor ex-servicemen of all wars and to provide a place for their gatherings.


The park is an important historical crossroad, the western most edge of the first land in Illinois ceded by Native Americans to the United States. The borderline runs through the park from southwest to northeast, and was set by a treaty made in 1795 at Greenville, Ohio, by General Anthony Wayne whereby Native Americans relinquished all claims to the land northwest of the Ohio River and east of a specified line. The area was called Vincennes Tract. The western boundary running through the park was known as the Indian boundary line and is marked by decided jogs which corresponded to the original survey line.

The area was bisected by the Old Cahokia Trace, commonly known as the "Trace Road," which ran east and west just north of what is now U.S. 50, and was for many years the principal route from historic Vincennes to St. Louis and the west.

A dam constructed across Muddy Creek, a tributary of the Embarras (pronounced "Ambraw") River in 1953 created a 40-acre lake which has a maximum depth of 30 feet and 2.5 miles of shoreline.

Since the early 1950s, the park has grown to its present size, and development and improvement of its recreational facilities has been continuous.


For family outings, what better way to spend a day than to have a picnic. Red Hills has pleasant, shaded picnic areas throughout the park, with tables and grills. There are three picnic shelters for large gatherings, two reservable and one first-come, first-serve, and six playgrounds. All areas are convenient to parking lots. Facilities are handicapped accessible.


For longer stays, there are more than 100 Class A campsites with vehicular access that provide electricity, a sanitary dump station, water and access to a modern handicapped-accessible building with showers and flush toilets. Some sites are pull-through with 50 amp service.

Handicapped sites also are available. In addition, there is a primitive tent camping area, rent-a-camp cabin, an equestrian campground and, in the North Park, a youth group tent camping area. Camping permits must be obtained from the park staff.


Eight miles of refreshing, scenic trails of moderate difficulty wind through the park, where the vibrant colors of redheaded woodpeckers, blue jays and goldfinches can be seen.


For the intermediate hiker, Indian Treaty, Robin, Valley Springs and Tulip trail loops overlap each other on the hilly north side of U.S. Route 50 for about 3 miles. There also is a 5-mile trail for horseback riding and bicycling when soil conditions permit.
horseback riding
Horseback Riding

Trails can be used by both equestrians and bicyclists. Check with park staff for open dates. A Class C equestrian campground is available. A local Saddle Club hosts horse shows once a month from April - October at the Red Hills Arena.

Fishing and Boating

A paved road circles the lake, and bank fishing is popular for largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill.

A boat launch is available, however, gas motors are not allowed.

Winter sports

In the winter months, when the ice is thick enough, you can go ice fishing and enjoy ice skating on the lake. Sledding opportunities also exist.


Squirrel, dove, woodcock, quail and rabbit are plentiful in season. Archery deer hunting also is permitted. All hunters must check in and out at the check station. Consult the park staff for specific information about shooting times and opening dates.  Red Hills Hunter Fact Sheet  |  Chauncey Marsh Hunter Fact Sheet

Trace Inn

The restaurant is open year-round an offers a spectacular four-season overlook of Red Hills Lake and the surrounding hardwood forest. Fine dining is enhanced by the rustic atmosphere of a rural decor, antiques and creative seasonal decorations. The Holiday Banquet Room provides dining for an additional 50 guests and can be booked for private parties and meetings. Visitors to the Trace Inn also will enjoy a unique craft, collectibles and antique shop. For more information call (618) 936-2352 or visit www.redhillstraceinn.com

Local Attractions

Visit www.southeastillinois.com for local attractions including wineries and golf courses.


Red Hills State Park is located in Lawrence County on US Rt #50 between Olney and Lawrenceville near the town of Sumner.

From US Rt #41 at Vincennes, Indiana, the park is located 18 miles west on Rt. 50.

From the junction of I-57 and Rt. 50 at Salem the park is located 65 miles east.

From the junction of IL Rt 1 and Rt. 50 at Lawrenceville the park is 8 miles west.

From Chicago take I-57 to Mattoon. Go east on Rt. 16 to Charleston, then take Rt. 130 south to Olney, and travel east on Rt. 50 to the park.

  • 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 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.

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