Weldon Springs State Park
Open: Open all year
Number of Sites: 75
Lying just southeast of Clinton in DeWitt County, Weldon Springs State Park is a 550-acre park for all seasons. Weldon Springs' recreational agenda is among the most comprehensive in the state park system, offering recreational opportunities year-round. During the milder seasons, you are invited to fish, boat, picnic, camp, hike, and view wildlife. Or, you might want to pitch horseshoes at the park's tournament-quality horseshoe pits. When the snow flies, hardier outdoors persons not only continue many of the warmer weather pursuits, but add sledding and tobogganing on a one-eighth mile hill, ice fishing and cross-country skiing to the itinerary of their visit.
NOTE: There are no bicycle trails at Weldon Springs
The Lakeside Self-Guiding Interpretive Trail circles the lake, winding 2 miles through riparian habitat where the forest and lake communities meet. A brochure and numbered posts beside the trail interpret natural features along the way.
The Beaver Dam Trail winds 7/8 of a mile between woodland slopes, alongside the Hidden Ponds, and across and beside a small stream. This trail is ideal for a night hike - listening to frogs, insects and whip-poor-wills in spring and summer; and owls year-round.
The Whitetail Ski Trail quickly drops into the bottomlands of Salt Creek. Birders should watch for migrating warblers, wild turkeys, and eastern bluebirds; herons, hawks and owls. The biggest tree in the park, a silver maple, grows beside the creek in the primitive campsites. This 2 7/8 mile trail may be flooded in spring.
The Schoolhouse Trail is a 1 1/3 mile loop of the 80-box bluebird trail maintained in the park. Bluebirds can be observed from late February to October. Circling the native prairie restoration project, walkers may observe various stages of the restoration process as meadow dotted with trees becomes tall-grass prairie. More than 30 different butterfly species have been identified visiting prairie and meadow flowers. Big bluestem and Indian grass may reach heights of 6-10 feet by September.
The Salt Creek Backpack Trail provides six backpack camping sites along its route for those who prefer a more rustic setting for camping. Campers may hear the evening serenades of coyote; great-horned, barred and screech owls; whip-poor-wills and wild turkeys. White-tail deer, beaver, muskrat and mink are often seen along this trail.
Named by Family Circle magazine to be one of the "Top Twenty Campgrounds in America", Weldon Springs' campground offers a quiet and friendly atmosphere for a relaxing camping experience.
The traditional Class A campground has 75 campsites with electricity, vehicular access, sanitary dumping station, shower building, cooking grills, picnic tables, pit toilets and playground equipment and water hydrants throughout the campground. Weldon Springs’ campground is open year-round; the shower building closes in the fall and reopens in the spring. Reservations are accepted for dates between May 1 and September 30 for ten Class A sites and one Class C. Five of the reservable Class A sites are pull-thru. Areas for tent, backpack, large group and youth camping are also available. Primitive backpack campsites are located along Salt Creek. Please call ahead for conditions, as these sites could be flooded in spring. The shower buildings are closed by November 1st (may be earlier if bad weather) and reopen May 1st (may be earlier - weather depending).
Black Locust Group Camp can accommodate up to 300 campers at one time. Long Point is for youth groups only and can accommodate up to 90 campers. This group tent camping area is lakeside and located near the main campground. Amenities at Long Point include a shelter, water, fire rings and picnic tables.
Disabled campers are also served. Three campsites designed for special needs offer a large hard-surfaced pad. Privies and water are easily accessible.
Alcohol is not allowed in the tent camping area, primitive backpack sites, and the Black Locust and Long Point Group Camps.
In addition to eight large picnic areas, six of which have shelters, the picnic enthusiast will find small groups of tables at a number of locations throughout the park. Cooking grills or fire rings, water hydrants, toilet facilities and parking spaces are available at each picnic ground. Most of the large picnic areas also have electrical service and playground equipment. Six shelters are available on a reservation basis.
A 29-acre, spring-fed lake with two miles of shoreline dotted with bank fishing platforms and a boat launching ramp provide anglers with easy access to a fish population boasting sizeable largemouth bass, catfish, bullhead, crappie, bluegill, and sunfish. There are size and catch limits for some species: Largemouth Bass - 15" limit, 1 daily; Channel Cat - 6 daily. Only electric boat motors may be used. Fishermen may rent boats at the Concession Stand.
The park has two outdoor amphitheaters, Lone Oak and Red Pine, which can be used for plays, weddings, movies, church services, and other programs. Both are perched on wooded hillsides and can be reserved.
The concession at Weldon Springs operates as a full-service restaurant. Fisherman will find bait, tackle, fishing boats and paddle boats. Firewood and ice are convenient for campers. Goosenecks is open Tuesday through Sunday and can be reached at 217-935-0600. Gooseneck’s Grill will open for the season on March 18th, 2010
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