Nature's bounty has conspired to produce a natural beauty and source of recreation greatly prized by generations of Midwesterners at Siloam Springs State Park, just minutes east of Quincy in Adams County.
The beautifully wooded terrain, sparkling lake and carefully maintained facilities make this 3,323 acre site one of the most beautiful parks in Illinois. It's an ideal setting for outdoor visits, whether your interest is hunting, fishing, camping, boating, picnicking, hiking or bird watching. The park is surrounded by luxuriantly forested gullies and scenic crests alive with wild roses, black-eyed Susans, white false indigo and snapdragons.
Originally part of the military tract of western Illinois (land set aside to be given to combat veterans), the area was acquired in 1852 by George Meyers for his service in the Black Hawk and Mexican wars. He died in 1882 at the age of 102. Legend has it that spring water in the area had a medicinal effect, thus the name Siloam Springs from a Biblical reference, so-called by the Rev. Reuben K. McCoy, who discovered the springs following the Civil War.
After Meyers' death, Quincy Burgesser, a local businessman and stock dealer, became aware of the springs and their curative value. He had the water analyzed and discovered it had more strength (a higher mineral content) than water from the famous Eureka and Waukesha springs.
Burgesser touted the water's ability to cure almost all ailments, even drunkenness and drug addiction. By 1884 he had erected two spring houses, a bathing house and the Siloam Forest Home Hotel, and the area became a popular and fashionable resort. Water from the No. 2 spring was bottled and distributed as far west as Kansas City and bottling became a flourishing business for several decades.
In 1935, the Siloam Springs Recreation Club purchased the site in an effort to restore it and provide a place of recreation for the local population. Citizens of Adams and Brown counties raised money to match state funds and by 1940 an agreement was reached to make it a state recreation area. Eventually, the old hotel and bath houses were torn down, the swimming pool abandoned and the springs no longer were used. The No. 2 spring house was rebuilt in 1995 and contains the most popular spring.
In 1954 and 1955, an earthen dam was constructed across a deep ravine and the 58-acre lake was created. Siloam Springs was dedicated as a state park in 1956, and efforts began to develop its recreational facilities.
Old Siloam Picnic Area provides visitors with four shelters, charcoal grills, restrooms, shaded tables and playground equipment. The main shelter house, which holds more than 20 tables, also provides flush toilets, hot and cold water, grills, playground equipment, plenty of parking and a set of horseshoe pits. In addition, several other smaller areas are scattered along the park entrance road providing tables and grills.
If you want to spend a night or two under the stars, Siloam Springs offers 98 Class A camp sites featuring restrooms, showers and electricity, 84 Class B camp sites featuring showers and restrooms, four hike-in backpack camp sites, and a special group campground. A centrally located shower facility is available to all campers. For campsite reservations visit www.reserveamerica.com
Horse Trails and Equestrian Camping
The park contains equestrian trails totaling 23 miles, covering ridgetops and steep, wooded valleys. A separate camping area is available for riders and their mounts, with water and limited electricity. Horse rentals are not available.
Boat and canoe rentals, a variety of bait and tackle, snack foods, soda and sandwiches are available on a seasonal basis from the concession stand by the lake. Phone (217)-894-6263 for more information.
The lake is stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear and green sunfish, carp, crappie, channel catfish and rainbow trout. An Illinois fishing license and an Inland Trout stamp are required and should be purchased before arriving at the park. Designated as a fish preserve by the Department of Natural Resources, only sport fishing tackle is allowed, and anglers may not use more than two poles and four hooks. There are six fishing piers around the lake as well as bank fishing.
Row boats and canoes may be rented, and there is a launching ramp for private craft. Only electric motors are allowed, no outboards. Swimming is not allowed.
Hiking the Siloam Springs trails brings you close to the many wildflowers found throughout the park, including wild roses, snapdragons and black-eyed Susans. About 12 miles of scenic hiking trails go from valleys to flatlands throughout the park, including a combination 6-mile hiking and backpacking trail. Most trails are easy, but Hoot Owl, at 1.5 miles, and Red Oak backpack trail, at 4 miles are moderate. Four primitive camp sites are available for those who wish to hike to them.
When game populations justify, in-season hunting is available. Contact the park office for species, shooting times, opening dates and areas opened.
Winter activities include ice skating, ice fishing, cross-country skiing and sledding as conditions permit.
From Quincy, IL, Take IL Rte 104 9 miles East to County Road 1200 N. Follow signs 12 miles to County Road 2873E, then South 3 miles to park entrance. Park Office is 1.5 miles from entrance. Park signs in place from Rte. 104 to park entrance.
From Springfield, IL, Take I 72 West to Griggsville and go North on Rte 107 for 11 miles. There, turn west on Rte.104 for 15 miles to County Road 2873E. Turn North for 6 miles to park entrance. Office is 1.5 miles from entrance. Park signs in place from Rte. 104 to the park entrance.
From Peoria, IL, Take US Rte. 24 to just outside of Clayton. There, turn South on County Road 2950E then South 10 miles to Kellerville, then West on 1200N 1 mile. Then to County Road 2873 South for 3 miles to park entrance. Park office is 1.5 miles from entrance. Park signs in place from Rte. 24 to park entrance.
- 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.