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Alton, ILLINOIS
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Great campground and general park

The campground has a lot of very nice campsites. Some are close enough to be near others, which is nice when you are camping with friends. There are also sights that are a bit more sectioned off from neighboring campsites. There are multiple trails, but my favorite is the one around the lake. Be prepared for it to take a little longer than map states if you stop to look at things and take pictures. Trails are well marked. There is a beach to swim and play in the lake. They rent kayaks if you want to get out and explore the lake.

Nice retreat!

Nice place! Good balance of shade and no shade spots. Don’t fee as though you are on top of everyone and even the generators won’t be too loud tonight. Little buggy and gotta watch for ticks, but this is camping and you are in nature.

Beautiful

Great picnic area

The bonus is the fried chicken

Great little campground just outside of Grafton, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. The campground is located in an open grove of old trees. There were owls when we were there. In winter there are a lot of eagles feeding in the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers which meet at the park. The Lewis & Clark expedition started nearby. Most of the sites were fairly level, but I didn’t see any pull through sites. Lots of hiking trails, and the lodge has one of the best fried chicken dinners around on Sunday.

Lakeside camping

Ranger Review Primus LiTech Trek Kettle at Dam West Campground

Campground Review

What a great campground on the shore of Carlyle Lake! Right next to the marina and with many sites right on the lake, you can’t go wrong here. Sites looked a bit more level on the inside of the loop than the lakeside sites, but I guess that’s the price you pay for real estate. My site was not the most level, but only steps from the beach with a few trees that might work for hammocking. The site was really clean and had plenty of space, with a nice paved parking pad, fire pit, picnic table, and electric hook up (all sites have electric!). Across the drive was a nice amphitheater and playground and a basic bathroom. The fairly clean shower house for the whole campground is up near the entrance (it also has a laundry room, but I did not check it out). The campground host for this summer is super nice and is likely to visit for a bit as he buzzes around on his scooter. There is a bike path that goes right past the campground that was busy all weekend with bikers, runners, and walkers, and takes you from the shower house to the marina in just a short walk.

Gear Review

Primus LiTech Trek Kettle As a Ranger for The Dyrt, from time to time I get new gear to review. On this camping trip I tested out the Primus LiTech Trek Kettle. I have to say, this may be my new favorite cooking pot. It is the perfect size for one person (which works well as I frequently camp solo). I used it to heat up some frozen chili for dinner and then used it again in the morning to heat water for oatmeal. Here’s what I liked:

  • The kettle holds just a bit more than a liter of water (or chili), which is about all you need to make coffee, heat large single servings of food, or just about anything
  • It’s non-stick, so clean-up is a breeze and doesn’t retain odors
  • The handles fold out and are easy to grip, and fold around the pot for easy out of the way storage
  • Its super light weight (perfect for backpacking)
  • Even though it was taller than wide, water heated up in it very quickly
  • My little fuel canister fits inside perfectly with almost no rattling
  • Primus included a nice carrying bag that fits the pot and has a small bit of room to spare Here’s what baffled me:
  • The lid doubles as a tiny nonstick frying pan. But it is big enough for maybe one egg. It is so small that I am not exactly sure what you could make in it. I understand the desire to make the lid “usable”, but maybe a regular lid with a colander built in would have been more useful.
  • The lid is not a great fit, and when packing up for storage, it kept sliding off.

Despite the weird frying pan lid, I am really happy with the LiTech Kettle. It meets all of my needs in a lightweight package. It is easy to clean up, packs small, has good handles, and is a great addition to my camp cooking arsenal.

Great get away.

Well taken care of and close to the city. Trails range from a short walk to an endless combination.

Favorite

We've been to most of the parks in the stl region, this is one of our favorites. Great hiking, boating, fishing, everything can be found here.

Hummmmm

Amazing park close to the city. Great lake and hiking trails. Access to the Katy and bike trails. Camp site are large, warning that some are hike in and not car camping. The only issues is the loud hummmmm of the power plant can be heard in the night.

Absolutely love the tent sites

They are spread out and truly feel like you are camping with out being right on top of each other

My families favorite place to camp

My family has been here multiple times and is one of the cleanest, nicest parks we have camped at. They always have great programs running too. The last time we we t they had a birds of prey presentation

Very clean, level camp grounds

This time we went with our Cub Scout group and stayed at one of the family sites. There was a water main breaks so the outhouse was our only option for restrooms and no clean water. The overall grounds were great and liked the ability to walk down to the lake from the the campsites.

Family friendly

This campground is cozy and mostly shady and ground is level.

Beautiful family campground

Family friendly atmosphere, big inground pool, 18 hole putt putt, lots of outdoor games, planned activities on the weekends, shaded sites, and air conditioned cabins! This place is a campers dream with great staff always happy to see you.

Not good!

Not very well maintained by the State of Illinois. Restrooms are horrible! So many better places to camp in the Carlyle Lake area.

Location is king

No frills here. But everything you need. 30/50 amp, water, sewer. I was very skeptical, so naturally I booked 3 nights. Fully fenced, police very close. Never once felt unsafe.

Downsides. Kinda noisy. Kinda bright at night (I’ll take it for the safety) No privacy (no trees)

Very worth the stay. Great location. People very nice.

So close but plenty far away....

All campsites are on the lake. Very clean and spot on! Open all year. 24/7 security. Close to civilization but inside the river levy so also very peaceful.

Spacious campsites, beautiful fall color, on the edge of a cornfield

Quiet midweek in tent camping area except for heavy equipment in field nearby. Large campground with open space and playground for kids. Short walk to beautiful lake.

Corps of Engineers

Great campground well maintained. Expertly managed

Lots of trees, shades, great campsites, friendly hosts and clean facilities

This campground qualifies for the senior pass for reduced rates. It is directly on Carlyle Lake, ,the largest lake in Illinois. It has activities for children on the weekends. The campsites have sewer and water on some sites, as well as other sites with electricity available. There are a lot of mature trees in the campground that provides plenty of shade int he summer. Many of the sites are blacktopped and large RV's will fit on the sites. There is a beach very near the campground that is within walking distance. There are also pools located near to the campground that can be used by the public.

Quaint Campground

This is a small quaint campground that allows you to get a feel for the state park. There are plenty of walking trails, rec areas and fishing available around the park which makes it for the perfect weekend getaway for the family.

Fires are allowed and you are able to drive to your campsite.

If you're military this is the place to go.

This campground is clean and convenient to the St Louis area. The Outdoor Recreation unit is very responsive to needs of campers. The nearby lake is scenic and peaceful. The campground has occasional airplane noise but it's not bad for a Air Base.

Great trails, historic lodge

Pere Marquette has many options for your stay. The campground may need a little attention and some lots are not level, but the area is worth the hassle. If you prefer, The Lodge has great character and a wonderful great room. There is a restaurant inside the main building with decent food. I prefer to stay in a cabin room which sleeps 4-6 and affords you more privacy. Outside, the hiking is worth the effort. The views from the bluffs are gorgeous.

Fun family campground

I camped as part of the Big MO Ride and Row event. It was my first visit to the park. Campsites are walk in, but a short walk. Some are more private and shaded than others. Our site, 35, like its neighbor sites was small and pretty close to others. Other sites like #19 and 20 were more secluded, offered more trees and privacy. There is a seasonal bathhouse, which is clean and well kept, but serves all 43 campsites with its 3 stalls and 2 showers per gender. The cabins look great from the outside and sit back in the woods. The park is beautifil and a great place for a quick escape ftom St. Louis.

Great family campground

We LOVE Hazlet! We have a popup camper and camp here often. It's a huge campground with a smaller reservable section and an extensive first come, first serve section. There are usually always spaces available. Sites are pretty level, are gravel, wooded, and spacious. There are several 'loops'' of sites that extend out and have water views. The shower houses are clean and air conditioned, there's a nice camp store that serves breakfast and basic lunches, and there is a nice large zero entry pool for a $5 fee on weekends. The campground hosts are sprinkled througout the grounds and are always friendly and accommodating. They have a huge Halloween event every year where people decorate their sites (pretty extensively) and there's a haunted house, then kids trick or treat from site to site. The campground also provides pumpkin painting contests and other fun activities. Better get there at least a week in advance for the halloweeen festivities- it fills up!

Hey BooBoo!!!!

I gave this campground a 4 star instead of 3 because I feel like if you’re camping here you should know not to expect “isolated camping” with sounds of running rivers and wildlife. This campground is geared for kids and family activities and accomplished same. It is pretty commercialized but did have a lot of trees. pros- activities for kids/fam nice pool tons of trees easy access from highway close amenities (Walmart, six flags, etc) close to StL (tons to do) we did grants farm and city museum one day.

Cons- can hear highway traffic….a lot small campsites, very close to neighbors fairly steep grade, especially right out our camper door was a big drop off our water hook up and electric hookup was significantly far apart. (1st world problems I know but handy info for those with campers) may be site specific.

if you camp here the golf cart rental is a must if you’re camping in the lower section. While we camped here some friends of ours camped at yogi outside Branson. After comparing experiences, although we had a good time, we would not return here. They did not say the same.

Relaxing

Go early to get good spots

Hidden Gem in St. Louis County

Pretty nice wooded campground close to St. Louis! Each site has a picnic bench, a fire pit and grill. It was very quiet when we stayed there on a Friday night, but it go really busy on Saturday morning because the equestrian folks use the campground as a staging area. There are two trail heads near the campground(very nice hiking!)

You would never know how close you are to a metropolis

This is truly a hidden gem. Tucked away, not far from St. Louis, you wouldn't know you were that close to a big city. It is clean and feels extremely safe. There aren't many sites, but the ones they have are quiet and spacious. There is one bathroom, centrally located, that was a 2-3 minute walk from our campsite. There was a picnic table and firpit provided. The main gate closes at 9 p.m. but if you call ahead there is a code you are given….or you can contact the camp host. I would love to go back and explore the lush, green trails.

Loop trail day parking

There is no equestrian camping and the parking for horse trailers is super small. There’s a neat 7 mile loop goes by old stable as well.