Over three thousand acres of mature forest, with 40 miles of hiking and equestrian trails, eight miles of mountain bike singletrack, deep woods for bow hunting, and miles of the Jubilee River for fly fishing, Jubilee College State Park is a wonderful camping sanctuary just a few miles west of Peoria, IL.
The park was developed as a frontier college in 1840, and was one of Illinois' very first schools. After Episcopal bishop Philander Chase (the founder of the school) passed away the grounds and buildings were given to the State of Illinois, and are now only open on special occasions for tours.
The giant acreage around the historical school has now been developed in to a large camping and hiking destination. All the campsites have electricity, and they are arranged in a wonderful park like setting surrounded by grass. The large common areas inside the camp loops are great for kids, and large enough to play games like soccer.
The south corner of the park has been designated for mountain bikes, with ten unique trails that range from grueling climbs, bridges, and root hopping, to screaming downhills and soft winding s-turns.
The remainder of the park's 45 miles of trails are open to hikers, equestrians, dog walkers, skiers, and snowmobiles depending on the season. Visitors exploring the park will see a variety of wildlife such as deer, turkeys, fox, rabbits, and beaver.
This thriving wildlife, and good forest cover also attracts hunters in the fall and winter, practicing their bow and muzzle-loading skills. There is also fishing in two small ponds and the Jubilee Creek which winds around the border of the park.
The Park is open year round, although limited campsites are available, and water may not be turned on in the winter.
The camping was developed with small motor homes and trailers in mind. There can be tree branches in the way and some tight turns in the park. Take it slow and be sure to arrive before dark to see the obstacles clearly. The sites are generally right on the field, with a little fill rock underneath. Extra blocking for leveling may be necessary.
The SP Campground has 108 online reservable campsites with power, picnic tables, fire rings, and large inviting grassy areas all around. Their sites are all listed as 40 foot back-ins, but some may not actually work for something that large because of trees in the way. There are flush restrooms with hot showers and a dump station with drinking water.
The entire section of the park south of Fussner RD to Jubilee Creek is covered in a network of mountain bike trails. The Terrain is varied, but mostly easy to intermediate here. There are about ten distinct rides encompassing around eight miles of singletrack trails. The remainder of the park is accessible to bikes as well, you'll just have to share the road with horses and dog walkers. The Northern parts are also mostly double track roads.
With more than 3,000 acres of terrain mixing mature woods, old farm fields, and a winding creek, Jubilee State Park is a great place for hunting. Deer, turkeys, woodcock, quail, pheasant, rabbits, and coyotes are all thriving in the area, and the setting is perfect for working on your archery skills. Check with the State Park for regulations and timing. Most of the openings are in early fall
With a rich history dating back to the 1800s, the grounds of Jubilee College SP are rewarding grounds for the patient treasure hunter with metal detector in hand. There are many old homestead sites hidden in the park and silver coins and other relics have been found. The historical Jubilee College grounds are off limits. Check with the State Park for an annual permit and rules about digging.
This large and heavily forested park has attracted a good variety of wildlife, and visitors year round will have a good chance to see birds and animals in their natural setting. Deer, rabbits, squirrel, fox, coyote and raccoon are busy in the forests, while Jubilee Creek hosts mink, muskrat and beaver. Over 160 species of birds, including wild turkeys stocked in 1988, call Jubilee College State Park home. The off season is best for nature viewing when things quiet down.
Two small ponds and the attractive Jubilee Creek provide a nice variety of fishing opportunities for anglers. The Ponds are stocked with brown and rainbow trout, and easy shore access makes these lawn-chair and bobber fishing kind of fun. Jubilee Creek is very different, with wide and fast moving shallow water, and a variety of pools and eddys. Dry fly fishing skills will be rewarded here with large mouth bass, brook trout, and catfish. It'll take some hiking and exploring to find the right spots, but that's half the fun. Check with IDFW for regulations.
The forty-five miles of trails on the north section of the park are groomed and designated for snowmobiles and cross-country skiers once the snow piles up in winter. The trails are clearly marked. There are no rental services in the park, but several shops in nearby Peoria have all the winter toys you might need. The park also maintains part of the campground open in the winter, with electricity but no running water.