Located in southern Illinois, Pyramid State Park is the largest park in the state with its 19,701 acres. The thickly forested hills, along with the many lakes and ponds throughout the park make this a great spot to visit, whether it be for relaxation or the many activities offered. Take your fishing poles and bait to one of the many lakes or ponds. Head off into the woods down the miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Take your gear down to the archery range. You will find endless activities during your stay, no matter the season.
Pyramid State Park has more than 500 acres of water in lakes and ponds of sizes varying from 0.1 to 276 acres, the largest being known as Super Lake. The larger lakes in the park have boat ramps available for use though all of the lakes can be reached by foot. There are also over 16 miles of trails within the state park for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian use. Camping is available year-round at Pyramid State Park, with the peak season running from May through September. With no hookups, come prepared to go boondocking with your RV.
The name of the state park originated from a coal mine that was once on the land. In the 1930s trees were planted in reclamation efforts. Then in 1968, 924 acres of land previously used by Southern Illinois University for research was turned over to the state. It was at this time Pyramid became a state recreation area. In 2001, an expansion of the state park consisted of four land acquisitions. This became the largest acquisition done by the Department of Natural Resources, creating what is now Illinois’ largest state park. The park is now comprised of 5 units: Original Pyramid, Galum, Denmark, Captain, and East Conant.
RV Rentals in Pyramid State Park
Transportation in Pyramid State Park
Pyramid State Park is located in Pinckneyville, Illinois. Pinckneyville is a small city in Perry County which is in the southern region of the state. Upon your arrival at the park, stop at the main office to pick up a parking permit. There are several entrances into the state park. The main office for check-in is located at the south entrance which can be accessed off of Pyatt-Cutler Road.
If visiting during the peak season or good weather, your drive to the park should be an easy one. However, in the winter months or periods of other inclement weather be sure to check road conditions and come prepared. The roads can become hazardous from snow and ice.
From the state park, it is a 10-minute drive to downtown Pinckneyville, so you won’t be far from food or supplies during your stay. Though the park is far from isolated, it’ll feel that way once inside. The heavy forest and acres upon acres of land will make everything else seem far away.
Campgrounds and parking in Pyramid State Park
Campsites in Pyramid State Park
Pyramid State Park Campgrounds
There are 54 campsites across three campgrounds at the state park: Pyramid North Campground, Boulder Lake Campground, and Jim Batson Camping Trailer Area. Campsites at this state park are first-come, first served. Reservations cannot be made online or over the phone. Especially during peak season, try to arrive early to secure a spot.
Each campsite has a gravel parking pad, a fire grill, and a picnic table. Due to the rugged nature of the park and gravel parking pads, be ready to level your rig if need be. You will find that there are no hookups at any site in the park, so be prepared with extra supplies for boondocking. Water and a dump station are available in the southern part of the state park, near the main office.
There are restrooms located inside the state park. If camping during the winter months, cold weather may result in the water being shut off. Plan accordingly for the time of your visit. Pets are allowed, but must be kept on a leash at all times. Boat launches are located at many of the larger lakes within the state park.
Seasonal activities in Pyramid State Park
Many of the larger lakes at the state park have boat ramps available for use. Kayaks or canoes are the best options if heading out on the water since motorboats must be operated at no wake speeds. Whether you’re planning to fish or simply paddle around to take in the scenery and wildlife, there are many bodies of water to explore at Pyramid State Park.
The state park offers 16.5 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. You can easily fill a day traipsing through the forest. Along the trails, you’ll be sure to find many of the park’s lakes and ponds. For the birdwatchers, a number of species live within the park and may be spotted. Other common wildlife residing in the park include deer, beavers, and woodchucks.
If planning to fish, you can set off by boat or on land. The larger lakes have boat ramps available, but all of the lakes, including the smaller ones, are accessible by foot. The lakes are full of largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill. You may find redear sunfish and channel catfish as well depending on which of the lakes you’re fishing at.
There is an archery range in the state park. If you’re looking to brush up your skills, bring your equipment along for your visit. With the open, uncrowded space, Pyramid State Park is the perfect spot to practice and improve your shooting skills.
Hunting is allowed in some units of the state park. Waterfowl hunting is permitted in the Galum, Captain, and Denmark areas of the park. Deer and upland game hunting are also allowed in this area. Bucks must have a minimum of four points on one side. Upland game hunting is by drawing only and an application must be submitted in advance.
Being over an old coal mine, Pyramid State Park has plenty of surprises to be found. Bring your gear and plan to spend the day searching through acres and acres of land. Be sure to follow the guidelines and obtain a permit prior to your visit. Contact the park with questions you may have regarding rules or the permit.