Shabbona Lake State Park comprises over 1,500 acres of stunning pastures, and it’s most famous for its beautiful 318-acre man-made lake. A special combination of grassy pastures, high and low woodlands, and a natural tranquil marsh makes this park the perfect site for relaxation and amusement. Shabbona Lake State Park also includes many conveniences for camping, hiking, hunting, picnicking, fishing, boating and even has a cabin store in case you forgot to bring all your gear! All of this makes Shabbona Lake State Park an amazing and easily accessible sanctuary that offers relief from the tiring routines of everyday life.
Hiking along a trail for a little over eight miles, you will see splendid views of the park as it spans over the seemingly endless rolling prairies. The hiking trails allow pets as long as they are on a leash, so you can trek along in the company of your loyal companions. Surrounding areas of the park offer picturesque and stunning glimpses of the lake and woodlands and the feeling of truly being lost in nature. For RV and camping enthusiasts, the park offers 150 campsites and two cabins with every site having its own picnic table, campfire ring, and a parking spot.
Shabbona Lake State Park is easily accessible by road and is a short and pleasant half hour drive from from the Western outskirts of Chicago. The park itself is located about seven miles off Interstate 35. The park can also be easily reached from Chicago through Interstate 88. Shabbona Lake State Park is for pop-up campers, tents and other small trailers. There is no guarantee of a smooth surface and all areas are back-in. A lot of the sites are very small and are not intended for fifth wheelers, big rigs, or motor-homes.
There are approximately 150 campgrounds, out of which 90 are designated for reservation only and 60 are obtainable on a first-come-first-serve basis. All locations possess their own electricity, fire ring, picnic table, and gravel parking space. There is also a campground dump station accessible to all campers as well as showers. One family is allowed per tent and campers should be ready to camp upon reaching the campsite.
It is possible that the campgrounds may be closed in spring due to poor road conditions from excessive rainfall. There is also a Campground Store in Shabbona Lake State Park that has almost all the essentials necessary for camping like groceries, wood, ice cream, snacks, fish tackle, bait, camping supplies etc. You can stay at the campgrounds for up to 14 days at a time. Generator use is prohibited between 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Shabbona Lake State Park has perhaps one the most popular and most productive fishing spots in Illinois for anglers of all ages and experience. Fishing is by far one of the most popular activities of the park as the beautiful lake is teeming with many species of fish. Anglers can toss a line out for redear sunfish, bass, walleye, channel catfish, black and white crappie, and perch which makes for a rewarding and entertaining fishing experience. There are small boats available for rent for people who are interested in fishing on the lake itself. They are also many spots around the shoreline for anglers to relax and enjoy the weather, scenery and wildlife.
Another major activity of Shabbona Lake State Park is boating. There are paddle boats available that you can rent from the cabin store for a spot of fishing or rowing on the tranquil lake water. The lake is accessible from a double-lane launching ramp. Boats with motors are also allowed on the lake but are restricted to a maximum of 10 horse-power. The lake offers a sizeable fishing area of around 18-acres that is a no-wake zone where only boating and paddling are allowed. Bear in mind that swimming is strictly prohibited in the lake waters.
Looking for a place to spend a romantic and relaxing evening? Shabbona Lake State Park might just be the place to visit with your loved one or family. With scenic views of prairie grass and prairie flowers growing around the lake and marshes you can sit back, relax and take in nature's beauty. The park is also a great place to spot migratory birds such as Canada geese, canvasbacks, and redhead and pintail ducks. There are three picnic shelters at your disposal in the park. The Somonauk Point can be availed through only a first come, first serve basis, however you have to reserve in advance for the Three Fires and Shabbona Groove shelter as they are meant for larger groups of people.
Apart from the many campsites Shabbona Lake State Park also offers the convenience of having two cabins available for rent. The cabins are around 200 square feet in size and comprise of two rooms. The cabins can be used all year round thanks to electric baseboard heating. These cabins are built closer to the shore of the lake so that the visitors can overlook astonishing views of the southeast end of Shabbona Lake. The area surrounding the cabins is covered and rather isolated which offers tons of privacy. The boat launch area is also nearby in case you are in the mood for some lake activities. A maximum of six individuals are allowed per cabin and no pets are permitted inside.
There are also trails for hiking and/or running in Shabbona Lake State Park with around eight miles of gravel, dirt and grass trails that are well-maintained and surrounded by a shady and attractive tallgrass prairie landscape. The trails at Shabbona Lake State Park are accessible all year and you can also bring your trusted companions with you as long as you have them on a leash. The trails are on a rolling prairie terrain and not that difficult or exhausting to complete. The two main trails are the Arrowhead trail and the Tomahawk trail, and they are both about two and a half miles each.
Along with cross-country skiing that is accessible from the nature trails of the park, Shabbona Lake is encircled by a seven mile snowmobile trail that opens in the winter, whenever the weather and circumstances allow. You must register your snowmobile at the park office before using the trail. If the ice is thick enough, you can also get permits for ice fishing and ice skating; two extremely popular winter recreational activities. The rolling prairies also offer the perfect terrain for tobogganing and sledding making much of this land a winter playground for the more adventurous and extreme outdoor lovers.