Loud Thunder Forest Preserve
Open: April 1-October 31
Number of Sites: 110
Number of Sites with Electric and Water: 24
Tents Allowed: Yes
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Loud Thunder began in 1944 with the purchase of 1,240-acre ranch from Charles Searle. Adjacent properties were later purchased creating the existing park totaling 1,621 acres.
The development of the preserve started in the 1950's with the creation of campgrounds, trails and parking lots. In 1967 the Big Branch Creek that ran through the preserve was dammed to create Lake George.
Loud Thunder is the largest of the Rock Island County forest preserves and sits in southwest Rock Island County off Highway 92. The Illinois Great River Road National Scenic Byway winds through the picturesque landscapes of the Preserve. Loud Thunder affords many recreational opportunities including camping, hiking, boating, and fishing. The Loud Thunder Forest Preserve provides an inspirational outdoor experience while expressing the importance of maintaining the flora and fauna.
One of the main attractions at Loud Thunder is Lake George, which is a 167-acre man-made lake. Nestled in the wooded hills of the preserve, the man-made lake has a maximum depth of 55 feet. The lake is stocked with many varieties of fish, including bluegill, large mouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, bullhead and muskellunge. A sports fishing license from the State of Illinois is required for fishing on Lake George. Gas motors are not allowed on the lake creating a peaceful environment for canoeing, sailing, boating and fishing. Boat rentals are available as well as concessions.
Other popular activities available at Loud Thunder are hiking trails. The Hauberg Trail East Branch and West Branch combine to form over two-miles of moderate level hiking through the scenic forested areas along the river. The Sac-Fox Trail is an approximately 12-mile, continuous loop, moderate level hiking trail. It winds its way throughout the Loud Thunder Forest Preserve and the adjacent Loud Thunder Boy Scout Camp. There are other shared-use trails located throughout the preserve for mountain bikers, horseback riders and hikers. There is also a playground and two picnic shelters available for rental. In the winter, Loud Thunder offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing on Lake George.
There are five campgrounds located in Loud Thunder that include 111 campsites. There are also 26 electrical campsites and the Horse Corral campground, which provides campsites to those with horses.
Camping is open from April 1st through October 31st, weather permitting.
Hours of operation are from 6:00 AM to dusk.
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