If you’re looking for a place to get away from reality for a bit, this state park is the place to be. Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area in Illinois is a great place to come park your RV. Here, you can enjoy nature at its finest with the rushing Middle Fork River and 35 miles of scenic trails that go around it. If you have a knack for fishing, this is where you should settle in for a few days. This National Scenic River is home to all kinds of species of fish, with bluegill, crappie, bass, and catfish, just to name a few. But if fishing isn’t really your thing, there are plenty of other fun and relaxing things to do too. When you hike or horseback ride on these trails, you’ll get to enjoy shaded forests, hilly grasslands, and the rushing sound of the river. Nothing is nearly as relaxing. And, you won’t have to worry about people bothering you at your campsite, as they are very spacious and secluded.
You probably don’t want to get Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area confused with Middle Fork Forest Reserve. The river is pretty big, so there are a number of parks and recreational areas in the vicinity. This one is located in Vermillion County, Illinois, in the town of Oakwood. If you’re taking Interstate 74, you’ll be just six miles from your arrival once you take the exit towards Oakwood, IL. It’s also not that far from another popular nature area, Kickapoo State Recreation Area. In fact, it’s only about five miles away, and you may even find yourself traveling on Kickapoo Park Road to get to this Fish and Wildlife Area.
Once there, you’ll find that there are plenty of parking spaces to choose from, and easy access to various hiking trails. Keep in mind though that some campsites, while being very secluded from everyone else, might be a bit of a tight fit. You may want to talk to the park staff upon arrival in order to ensure you get a big enough site for your big rig. Other than site capacity, you should have no other issues here.
Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area features nicely secluded campsites scattered through dense forest, giving you a sense of calmness as you are exposed to the untainted nature around you. Keep in mind though that while these RV sites are a great getaway into the wild, they are fairly primitive. The sites that you can bring your camper to are Class C sites, meaning that there are no hookups whatsoever. There is also no access to showers. The good thing though is that these sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you decide to leave the camper behind on this trip, there are also Class D sites available, which are for tents only. If you brought your horse along with you, you can stay at one of the equestrian sites as well. If you’re looking for a spot with more amenities, Kickapoo State Recreation Area has more to offer and is only about five miles away.
There are 35 miles of trails in the area, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on exploring some of them. The great part is that you will find the access points to all of the trails at the parking lot near the main office. You can even take your horse out on the trails, as many of them are equestrian-friendly. There’s no better way to get some exercise and fresh air than hiking a few miles here.
Another great activity to take part in during the off-season is to take the archery trail and visit the trapping range. The archery trail consists of 20 targets for you to try to hit. Keep in mind though that there are rules you will need to follow here. The trapping range includes two ranges for you to use. Both of these exciting activities are open and available all year long, so you can hone in your skills at any time of the year.
Just because the temperature drops and snow covers the ground, doesn’t mean that the fun and adventure has to stop. In fact, there are many trails in the area that will provide you with excellent cross-country skiing and snowmobiling opportunities. So if you find yourself wanting to get away in your RV for the winter, come to Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area. Just don’t forget to pack your skis in your big rig.
The river makes for wonderful canoeing opportunities. After all, who doesn’t enjoy wading down the river in a canoe? There are two spots where you’ll be able to get your boat in the water, and they are at Kinney’s Ford and Bunker Hill. If you’re staying in the northern area of Middle Fork, you might prefer the access point at Kinney’s Ford, as it would be closer to you. If you’re further south, Bunker Hill might be better for you.
When you come to visit Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area, you’ll find plenty of picnic shelters scattered all around. If you’re not sure where to find them, look near the campground and the main office. These shelters are available to whoever gets to them first, so feel free to use them as you wish. Just be sure that you don’t leave any trash or messes behind, as this can disturb the wildlife and even ruin someone else’s next experience.
Middle Fork is the place to be if you are looking for plentiful fishing opportunities, as the river is home to all kinds of species of fish. There are a number of ways you can reach river access, and you’ll be sure to find a comfy spot to stick the pole in the water. You just might catch some bass, catfish, bluegill, or another kind of fish when you bring your fishing gear. So don’t forget to pack it in the RV.