Pere Marquette State Park
Open: Open all year
Number of Sites: 80
Number of Sites with Electric: 80
A nature-lover's paradise, this 8,000-acre park is famous for the exceptional beauty of its fall colors and for its bald eagles during the winter. In addition to enjoying the spectacular view of the Illinois River and its backwaters from several points atop the bluffs, visitors can take advantage of a variety of year-round recreational opportunities, including horseback riding, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and boating.
Pere Marquette's Visitor Center, opened in October 1997, welcomes you with a three-dimensional map of the park and wealth of other displays and exhibits concerning the Illinois River, wildlife habitat, local history, and geology.
If you prefer a more rustic experience, Pere Marquette offers a wide range of camping opportunities:
* Our Class A campground has 80 sites, two of which are handicap accessible. Sites have electrical hookups only, with a sanitary dump station, drinking water, and a shower building available on the grounds. Sites 2-30 are available for reservation from May through October. The nearby Class B tent camping area also has access to the shower building.
* Within the Class A campground, the park offers two Rent-A-Camp cabins Rent-A-Camp cabin.
* Popular among scout groups is the Youth Tent Camp Area, also known as Duncan Hill. This separate campground offers a picnic shelter and tables, pit-type toilets, and drinking water.
* For large organized groups, Pere Marquette operates three Organized Group Camps. Camp Potawatomi accommodates 68 campers; Camp Piasa and Camp Ouatoga will each accommodate 145. All three camps feature fully-equipped kitchens and dining rooms, lighted sleeping cabins with cots and mattresses, and restroom facilities with warm showers and flush toilets. Camps Piasa and Ouatoga also feature swimming pools.
Reservations for all types of camping are accepted by mail only beginning on the first working day in January. Reservations may be made by telephone or in person beginning February 1st. We accept MasterCard and Visa for all fees. Contact our Visitor Center for more information.
Plenty of picnic areas are available throughout the park, with tables, grills and trash containers provided. Three picnic shelters are available, and may be reserved. A fee is required to reserve shelters. Shelter Reservation Application
Boating and Fishing
A wide variety of fish such as bluegill, carp, catfish, crappie, drum, largemouth bass, and white bass, attract anglers to the Illinois and Mississippi River. Launching ramps and ample parking provide access to the river, with courtesy docks available when weather conditions and river levels permit. Future plans include a full-service marina. Two Rivers Fishing Fair
Approximately 12 miles of marked trails provide scenic hiking to beginners and experienced hikers alike. Lush forests, towering bluffs, and an abundance of wildlife provide the perfect backdrop for your outing. Trail maps are available at the Visitor Center.
The park offers about 20 miles of equestrian trails with a parking area for your trailers on Graham Hollow Road. The trails to the west of Graham Hollow are open year-round. The trails east of Graham Hollow will be closed during certain seasons of the year. These areas will be posted when closed.
Pere Marquette Riding stables is open for trail rides every day except Tuesday, weather permitting, from May through October. Please call 618/786-2156 for a reservation.
The Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail runs from Pere Marquette State Park to the City of Alton, approximately 20 miles. The entire trail is paved.
About 230 species of birds have been identified within, at the boundaries of, or flying over Pere Marquette State Park. A checklist has been prepared by local birders, in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources, as is available at the Visitor Center. Popular locations for bird watching are Stump Lake, in the river bottoms, and McAdams Peak and other overlooks along the scenic drive through the park.
The 2,000 acre public hunting area located off Graham Hollow Road has good standsof mature oak and hickory timber, which provide excellent habitat for squirrel, deer, and turkey. These game species may be hunted in this area in accordance with statewide seasons and regulations, with the exception of squirrel season, which begins the day after Labor Day in the Park. Another 1,147 acres is available for public hunting at Copperhead Hollow Wildlife Area, located on Nutwood Road, approximately 5 miles north of the park. The topography of this area varies from steep hills to bottomland floodplain (Otter Creek). The bottomland areas are mostly farm fields. The hills consist of mostly oak/hickory woodlands with some areas becoming dominated by maple. Deer, turkey, squirrel, raccoon, coyote and waterfowl may be hunted in this area according to statewide regulations. All hunters using the Public Hunting Areas at Graham Hollow Road or Cooperhead Hollow must obtain a free permit at the Visitor Center.
Archery Deer Hunting is offered on an additional 3,000 acres in the three Organized Group Camp areas by special permit. Three one-week seasons are offered, beginning on the Monday after the last Sunday in October (when the group camps close for the season). By random drawing, 5 hunters are selected for each season in each area. The drawing for this hunt is held the first working day in April each year. Applications will be available by March 1st.
Spring Turkey Hunting is also available in the Organized Group Camp areas by special permit. To be considered for this hunt, hunters must use the statewide Firearm Turkey Permit application, and apply for Pere Marquette Group Camp Area. For further information, contact the Visitor Center, or the IDNR Permit Office at (217) 782-7305.
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