Featuring breathtaking natural beauty and amazing wildflowers, Kickapoo State Park is a prime year-round spot for RV adventurists. There is so much to do at the park -- it is known for being one of the only Illinois State Parks to offer a combination of hiking, canoeing, fishing for trout, camping, hunting, and scuba diving. The park takes its name from an indigenous village that once inhabited the nearby Vermilion River. Before becoming a state park the area was a salt, and then later, a coal strip mine until 1940. Today, the park is known and loved for its abundance of outdoor activities.
Kickapoo State Park is nearly 3,000 acres in size and features 221 acres of ponds and lakes along with 35 miles of hiking trails. Some of these ponds are old mining pits and are deep and large enough that guests can use electric motorboats, canoes, and kayaks. In the winter season, ice fishing and cross-country skiing are very popular activities for visitors to the park.
Campsites are available year-round at Kickapoo State Park with 58 sites for RV camping with electric hookups, and 34 basic sites with no hookups. The RV sites are also pet-friendly, and there are two shower houses that are open from May through to the beginning of November. Peak season at Kickapoo State Park is May through to October, but there's never a bad time to park your rig here and explore for a day or two.
Kickapoo State Park is very easy to find. It is located right outside Danville, Illinois, and is conveniently just 28 miles away from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and 95 miles from Indianapolis. The park can be accessed by route I-74 and US-136, both of which are well-traveled routes that should pose no problem (construction withstanding), even for those navigating big rigs.
Once inside the park, paved roads will take you to most of the main attractions like the campground, picnicking areas, and various ponds and trailheads. There's also plenty of the park that you can only see by foot, bike, or boat, so don't forget to pack your favorite gear along in the campervan. There are numerous overflow parking lots, so even during the peak summer months, you should have no trouble finding a place to park the rig. Those staying overnight can, of course, park the travel trailer at their campsite.
During the wintertime, it can be quite snowy around the park. Make sure that you check the local forecast and current road conditions before beginning your journey.
There are three different loops at the main RV campground at Kickapoo State Park. The Erie Loop has 34 non-powered sites that can accommodate rigs up to 20 feet in length. The Fox and Illini loops have 58 powered sites that vary between 30 and 50 amps. For these loops, you will be able to set up camp with RVs that are up to 40 feet in length. Note that if you stay on an electric site and don't use the hookup, you will still have to pay for the electricity availability.
While there are no water hookups that go directly to each site, there are three water collection points available in central locations. There are two shower blocks in the campground and one dump station. Other amenities include a playground, picnic tables, and a camp store that sells concessions and firewood. Phone service should be available throughout the campground.
If you bring your four-legged campmates, they must be on leashes at all times. The campground is open year-round, but those planning on winter camping should note that the shower block will be closed. The park's quiet hours are ten P.M. until seven A.M. The maximum length of stay is 14 days within a 30-day period, and reservations can be made six months in advance.
Those camping with a large group can reserve Kickapoo State Park's group campsite. The site can accommodate between 10 and 75 people, along with four vehicles. The area is partially shaded, and guests will find picnic tables, vault toilets, and fire rings at the group site. No hookups are available, but a dump station can be found near the main campground. The group campground is open year-round, and reservations can be made up to six months in advance.
If you couldn't secure a spot to camp at Kickapoo State Park, you won't have to drive far to find a place to park the fifth wheel for the night. Both Turkey Run State Park and Shades State Park are about an hour southeast of the park. Turkey Run offers year-round camping and is equipped with over 200 electric sites. Shades State Park is a bit more rustic and offers 100 non-electric RV sites. This is a good option for those looking to beat the crowds during the busy summer season.
The Vermilion River and 22 different ponds can be found in Kickapoo State Park, which makes it a fantastic spot to go fishing. There are many different fish species found in these waters, and some common catches include largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and redear sunfish. If you park the Airstream at Kickapoo during the fall and spring months, rainbow trout will also be stocked in the ponds. If you prefer casting out via boat, there are numerous launching ramps available on multiple lakes at Kickapoo.
Even if you don't like to fish, there are still plenty of ways to get out on the water at Kickapoo State Park. Since there are so many different ponds and rivers, you should think about what you want to do out on the water. A concession stand within the park offers canoe, tube, kayak, and paddleboard rentals. They also offer shuttle services to certain parts of the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River for you to enjoy.
If you want to get out on Clear Lake, there are boats for rent there, or you could go for a paddle down the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River with a canoe, inner tube, or kayak. A 13-mile kayak trip begins at Kinny's Ford, an eight-mile trip starts at Bunker Hill, or you could do a combination of two miles on the Vermilion River and paddle through three lakes in the park. With so much to do, you may find yourself booking an RV campsite for a night or two so that you can enjoy all this park has to offer.
Kickapoo State Park is very unique, as it one of only a handful of state parks in Illinois that allows scuba diving. If you have a proper dive certification and you register at the park office, you will be allowed to dive in the park. The Inland Sea and Sportsman's Lake are the most popular spots to scuba dive. No gear is available to hire, so you must bring your own masks and tanks along in the campervan if you want to go diving.
Once you're exhausted from a full day of exploring and experiencing the park, hunker down at one of the six picnicking areas available at the park. These areas are equipped with everything you need for a successful picnic, including tables, grills, water, and even a playground -- you just need to bring your own food! A seasonal concession stand is also available and offers tasty refreshments, rental equipment, and souvenirs during the peak summer months.
After a long ride in the Sprinter, you can lace up your hiking boots and stretch your legs along 35 miles of trails. Kickapoo State Park offers trails for all types of hikers, from short, leisurely walks, to more intense, technical treks. Those looking to really get the blood flowing during their stay should check out the Out and Back running and hiking trail. At nearly eight miles, this difficult trail will have you sweating, and you'll be treated to forest views and abandoned croplands along the way. There are also plenty of easier hiking trails in the park as well, just ask a park ranger for a recommendation.
Don't hesitate to bring the bikes along in the motorhome when you visit Kickapoo State Park, because there are miles of trails to enjoy for both beginners and skilled riders alike. For a more technical ride, check out the ominously named Heaven and Hell Trail. Here you'll find tight switchbacks, intense climbs, and plenty of berms. Haul Road offers a more leisurely riding experience with few fun uphill and downhill segments. The off-season is a great time for biking, as the crowds are sparse and you'll likely have the trails mostly to yourself.
More than 1,000 acres are available to hunt on in Kickapoo State Park, including forests, grasslands, edge, and cropland. Hunters in the park are allowed to take aim at white-tailed deer, woodcock, quail, squirrel, dove, cock pheasant, rabbit, raccoon, and opossum. There are also trapping and archery ranges available inside the park. Before hunting in the park, you must register at the park office. Special regulations and restrictions apply, so make sure you go to the office and understand what you can and can't do.
Even once the dog days of summer are over, the fun doesn't stop at Kickapoo State Park. Winter sports enthusiasts and snow lovers alike flock to the park to enjoy a number of outdoor activities, including sledding, cross-country skiing, ice-fishing, photography, and ice-skating. The park campground is open year-round, so if you'd like to spend more than one day playing in the snow, you'll have no problem finding a place to park the Class A for the night.