Spring Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area

Place Category: Ecology, Geology, Nature & Outdoor Recreation, Birding, and Nature Sites

  • Profile

    Once the main channel of the Illinois River, Spring Lake is now geologically classified as a “meander scar, an abandoned channel of the river. Guarded by a high sandstone bluff, this 1,946-acre site is one of the few areas where upland pine forests still exist along the river. Spring Lake has a total of 7.5 miles of hiking trails spread over 3 different trail systems. Besides hiking, these trails are also great for studying birds, insects, and the diverse plant life. A great year-round birding destination, there are spring migrants and a variety of summer residents, fall and winter waterfowl and bald eagles. Fall waterfowl watchers will want to visit the numerous parking sites located along 18 miles of shoreline. In some places getting out of your vehicle will spook the birds, so use your car as a viewing blind. Hiking the trails in the spring and summer will yield the most productive viewing of warblers, woodpeckers, and vireos.

    Pine Campground and Oak Campground, located in the north park, are Class C campgrounds (no showers or electric sites). Seventy sites provide tent and/or trailer camping. A trailer disposal station is available.

    Waterfowl, squirrel and deer archery hunting are allowed at Spring Lake. Please check with site personnel concerning site regulations, season dates, limits, and designated hunting areas.

    The lake is divided into two separate lakes. The north lake has largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, muskie, channel catfish, sunfish, bullhead, and carp. The south lake has largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, northern pike and sunfish.

    Hikers can enjoy five trails within the park. The Stage Coach Road hiking trail is 2 1/2 miles long, Deer Run hiking trail is 1/2 mile long, and the Whispering Pine hiking trail is divided into three separate trails of 1/2, 1 1/2 miles, and 2 1/2 miles.

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