Eldon Hazlet State Park
Open: Open all year
Number of Sites: 364
Number of Sites with Electric: 328
It seems appropriate for one of the largest campground in the Illinois state park system to be located on the largest manmade lake in Illinois. Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is a 3,000-acre site on the west shore of Carlyle Lake, a Kaskaskia River impoundment. The site is located 3 miles north of Carlyle and 2 miles east of Illinois Route 127 in Clinton County.
Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is probably best known for its camping facilities. The Illini Campground has 328 Class A campsites with 30 and 50 amp electrical hook-ups, 36 Class C campsites for walk-in tent camping and two rustic rent-a-cabins. Cabin Reservation Form | Campground Reservation Form
Seven Class A campsites are accessible to individuals in wheelchairs. The campground occupies almost 1 1/2 miles of the Carlyle Lake shoreline, and most of the campsites are within easy reach of the water. Many campers keep their boats in the coves located along the campground. Three shower buildings are located in the campground, plus numerous privy toilets. Recreational amenities include several sets of playground equipment, a basketball court, a sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, an amphitheater, and hiking trails. Plenty of parking is available for vehicles and boat trailers. To register for a campsite see one of the campground hosts or a site security officer.
Reservations can be made for Class A sites 1 -65 (reservation sites map). Reservations are accepted by mail only in January and starting in February, by mail or in-person for the remainder of the year. A maximum of six reservations per person, per envelope are accepted. A non-refundable fee of $5 plus the first night's camping fee must be included with the reservation. Contact the park office for further information at 618-594-3015.
The Eldon Hazlet Campground Store, located at the entrance to the Illini Campground, is a 2,000 square foot store with contains groceries, camping and fishing supplies, clothes, live bait, ice and fire wood. A public laundry room and outdoor patio are also available. Please call the store at 618/594-3387 for hours of operation.
South Shore State Park (Site Map) is a 3-mile long park located on Carlyle Lake's southeast side, approximately 3 miles east from the City of Carlyle on Route 50. The park provides recreational opportunities, including a small boat access, day-use areas for picnicking, a 3/4 mile hiking trail, as well as outstanding bank fishing opportunities. Observing wildlife, especially white-tailed deer, is another popular activity. For more information on South Shore State Park, call Eldon Hazlet Site Office at 618-594-3015.
A public swimming pool is located behind the campground store. The pool is open form Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. With a zero entry to 4 1/2 foot depth and staffed by a lifeguard, the pool is ideal for families with small children. Maximum capacity is 450 swimmers. A user fee is required to enter the pool facility.
A combination of wide open water, low surrounding terrain and strong winds provide conditions which make Carlyle Lake one of the Midwest’s most popular sailing lakes. Regional and national regattas are held here, and in 1994 the sailing competition of the US Olympic Festival games was hosted by Eldon Hazlet State Park and the Carlyle Sailing Association.
A 40-acre sailboat harbor, protected in a deep inlet, is at the south end of the park. It is operated as a land-based marina, meaning all boats are stored on land. The sailboat harbor is leased from the park by the Carlyle Sailing Association (CSA), which operates it as a concession for members. However, non-members may launch boats there by paying a fee.
In addition to boat launching privileges, payment of the fee entitles the non-member to use all of the harbor’s other facilities. They include showers, picnic tables, play equipment, day-use docks, and a large shelter with electricity and a barbecue pit. Also, when slots are available, parking privileges in the harbor’s members-only overnight boat parking area may be extended to non-members who are staying several days at the park and who pay the launching fee.
The harbor complex has both a conventional boat launching ramp and three electric hoists which can place sailboats up to 2,000 pounds - in the 16- to 18-foot range - in the water from the harbor wall. For additional information, contact the harbor master at (618)594-3622 or visit their web site at www.csa-sailing.org
Because of its central location relative to the lake, the park is a great place to launch a boat. Three boat ramps are available to the public free of charge. Allen Branch Day Use Area is one of the most popular boat launching spots on the lake. It offers a four-lane boat ramp with a handicapped accessible courtesy dock, plus two picnic shelters and privy toilets. Apache Day Use Area has a two-lane ramp, picnic shelter, play equipment, fish cleaning station and privy toilets. Peppenhorst Branch has a graveled small-boat ramp used by anglers and hunters.
More than 9 miles of trails are available to hikers at Eldon Hazlet. The 3-mile Cherokee Trail has three separate loops that pass through a mature oak-hickory forest over gently rolling terrain, offering great views of the lake. The Pawnee Trail is a 1-mile loop trail that runs along the highest point on Carlyle Lake. Both the Cherokee and Pawnee trails lead to Burnside Cemetery, a restored cemetery with tombstones that date to the 1830s.
The Kaskaskian Trail is a 2 1/2-mile loop trail that begins at the park office and passes by the youth campground, the Pawnee Trail, various day use areas and the Eagle trail, a 3/4-mile loop near the north end of Illini Campground. A 1/4 -mile accessible interpretive trail is located within the 3-acre prairie restoration directly across from the park office. The 1-mile Illini Trail is located across from the Campground Store and loops around the Illini Fishing Pond. All trails are closed Wednesday through Sunday during pheasant season.
Eight picnic areas are available in the park, all of which are located near the lake. Tables and grills are provided at all of the picnic areas, and five of the areas have electricity-equipped shelters that can be reserved either by mail or in-person. The largest is a 40-by-80-foot shelter located at the Olympic Festival Day Use Area. A fee is required to reserve shelters. Shelter Reservation Form.
Certainly one of the most popular activities at Carlyle Lake is fishing. More than 30 species of fish occur at the lake, including such local favorites as white bass, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill, carp and buffalo. Bank fishing is allowed anywhere in the park. The Allen Branch area is most often used and offers an accessible fishing pier. A fish cleaning station (also accessible) is located at Apache Boat Ramp.
Hunting | Hunter Fact Sheet
The park has more than 50 acres designated for archery deer hunting, dove hunting, and upland game hunting. In addition, a controlled pheasant hunting program is held every year at the park, usually from early November to early January. Advance permits and controlled pheasant hunting information is available on-line at lrsidnrpermits.com. Eldon Hazlet can accommodate 125 hunters per day, Wednesday through Sunday.
The park also offers pheasant hunting and archery deer hunting opportunities for disabled hunters. For more information and site specific regulations on hunting, please contact the park office at 618/594-3015 and review the Hunter Fact Sheet.
An archery range with an elevated platform is located in the park and is open all year except during the controlled pheasant season.
Youth group camping is available at the Osage Youth Group Area. With easy access to the lake and plenty of hiking trails, this area is a favorite of Scout and Church groups. The campground has a picnic shelter, privy toilets and drinking water. Although the area is not reservable, it is very large and can accommodate hundreds of campers. Youth groups may schedule nature hikes or interpretive programs by calling the site interpreter.
Twenty lakefront cottages are available for rent in the park. The cottages are located on the Carlyle Lake shoreline offering a spectacular view of the lake. The 780 square foot units contain a kitchenette, bar, living area, bedroom, loft and deck. The kitchenette is equipped with stove, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker and sink. Other amenities include cable tv, linens, and cookware. Twelve complimentary boat docks are available to cottage renters upon request. For more information on prices and availability, please call 1-877-342-8862 or 618-594-3386.
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