Located on banks of the largest manmade lake in Illinois, Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is one of the most popular parks for RV campers in the state. The park is massive and is set over 3000 acres on the western shore of Carlyle Lake, a Kaskaskia River impoundment. The park attracts over 900,000 visitors per year to participate in recreational activities that including boating, hunting, fishing, birdwatching and hiking.
The recreation site is leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who were the orginal builders of the gigantic 26,000-acre Carlyle Lake. The area is namedfter a Carlyle attorney Eldon Hazlet who was the first president of the Kaskaskia Valley Association. The association organised and promoted construction of Carlyle Lake and Lake Shelbyville along with other improvements on the Kaskaskia River.
The park is an extremely popular RV camping destination and has some of the most impressive facilities in the state. In total there are over 327 Class A campsites (wow!) that have 30 and 50 amp electrical hook-ups. For those without RV's there are also 35 Class C campsites for walk-in tent camping and two cabins. The location of the campground is also amazing as it is set along almost a mile and a half of the gorgeous Carlyle Lake shoreline. Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is open throughout the year and peak season runs from the beginning of April to the end of October.
Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is located in Clinton County, Illinois on the western banks of the Carlyle Reservoir. Since the park is located next to a lake access is limited to those on the eastern side of the lake as the entrances are on the western side. One of the benefits of driving to Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is that it is in a very easy to find location. The city of St Louis is around an hour to the west of the park and there are many smaller towns nearby, including Carlyle, Beckemeyer and Greenville.
The terrain that leads to the park is also very manageable as the surrounding areas and roads are very flat. Trees are also set back from the road so you won't have to worry about overhanging branches damaging your pride and joy.
During the winter time it is possible for snow storms to hit in and around the park. If you are unsure of the weather conditions or want to double check that the park is accessible after a snow storm you can contact the park office.
Due to the large size of the park there is plenty of parking available at Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area.
Unfortunately there are no public transport options that can take you to Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area.
Simply put, the campground at Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is very impressive. There are an incredible 328 Class A campsites available for RV use that all feature with 30 and 50 amp electrical hook-ups. Out of these 328, seven are accessible to those in wheelchairs. The location of the campground is stunning and it occupies almost one and a half miles of the Carlyle Lake shoreline. Most of the campsites are within easy reach of the water and it is very common for campers keep their boats in the coves located along the campground during their stay at the park.
The amenities at the park are also great, with three shower buildings, numerous toilets and a dump station all available for use. There is also a basketball court, sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits and multiple sets of playground equipment.
The camping area is usually very busy during the summer and quiet during the winter. The campground is also pet friendly and is open all year round. Reservations much be made at least three days prior to arrival.
Looking to do some swimming during your stay? If so, check out the public swimming pool that is available for use at Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area. The pool is located behind the campground store and is open form Memorial Day weekend through to the Labor Day weekend. The pool is staffed by a lifeguard at all times and is ideal for families with small children due to the depth of the pool. A fee is required to use the pool and the maximum capacity is 450 swimmers.
One of the most popular activities to do within the park is to go fishing. There are two main waters to fish in: Carlyle Lake and Illini Pond. There are more than 30 species of different fish found in the waters of the lake, including white bass, channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, carp and buffalo. Boat fishing is very popular, but you are also allowed to go bank fishing anywhere in the park. There is also an accessible fishing pier and fish cleaning station for those who need it.
Due to the close proximity of Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area to Carlyle Lake the park is a very popular place to go boating. Three boat ramps are available to the public and park guests can use it free-of-charge. The most popular spot to launch boats is the Allen Branch Day Use Are. Here you will find a four-lane boat ramp with a handicapped accessible courtesy dock, two picnic shelters and toilets. The Apache Day Use Area also has a boat launch area with a two-lane ramp, playground equipment, fish cleaning station, picnic shelter and toilets.
For the hiking lovers there are more than nine miles of trails that are available for you to explore at Eldon Hazlet. The most popular trail is the three mile Cherokee Trail. It has three separate loops that pass through a stunning mature oak-hickory forest. The trail also offers some outstanding views of the lake. Another popular trail is the one mile Pawnee Trail. This is a loop that runs along the highest point on Carlyle Lake. Both the Cherokee and Pawnee trails lead to Burnside Cemetery, a beautiful restored cemetery that features tombstones dating all the way back to the 1830s.
If you are looking to do some hunting during your stay at Eldon Hazlet Recreation Area you will be pleased to know that the park has more than 50 acres designated for archery deer, dove, and upland game hunting. Along with archery hunting there is also a controlled pheasant hunting program that is held every year, usually from early November through to early January. There is enough room for up to 125 hunters a day and you can find out more information about hunting permits on the park website.
There are some great opportunities to for bird watches all year round at Eldon Hazlet Recreation Area. The lake is a particular hotspot, with more than 200,000 waterfowl making a stop at the lake on their migratory travels north and south each and every year. Along with the waterfowl, other types of birds that are regularly seen at the park include quail, doves bluebirds, herons, egrets and raptors. There are bird watching groups held throughout the year, so make sure to check the park website to see if there is an event on when you are visiting the park.