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We stopped in to Wolf Creek State Park later in the day on a Wednesday after trying to stop at a different campground that was closed. We were worried about finding a spot as the sun was going down so we called even though no one usually answers phones at state parks (esp during COVID). The woman that answered was SO nice and I was so happy to hear a voice on the other end. So that’s a huge plus. You can reserve spots online in advance but clearly we did not because we didn’t know we’d be headed there. Same day is first come first serve. We are tent people and love primitive camping in spots where we can really be away from everyone and at least pretend like we’re alone. Rolling in in the dark, we weren’t motivated to checkout the walk-in campsites. And it wasn’t necessary because the area - which if full would’ve been pretty cramped for our taste- was absolutely empty. So we were happy. Many many spots for RVs all next to one another but there was tree cover for some and the possibility of a little bit of privacy but not much in that area.
We had an almost full moon, but otherwise I think the stars would’ve been pretty awesome. The next morning we woke up and took a little hike down to Shelby Resevoir to see what was around. We were at campsite 18 and it was about 10 min hike down over there. Beautiful and big! Maybe good swimming I would assume? Too late in the year for us.
We will definitely be back to checkout more of the primitive/walk-in/hike in sites! Hiking trails look interesting and fun and Eagle Creek State Park is just across the water (that’s the bigger one). The 4 stars was because the sites are pretty close together which- even with RVs- I think people mind- but maybe not? We love to be back in the woods ans I do think there is an option for that. We just didn’t have time to check it out. Will update!
$8. The staff isn’t always there, so you could end up with a free place to stay (especially if you come late.) Lots of trails nearby, and plenty of beautiful green trees. Outhouse on site. One of the more quiet sites that doesn’t get a lot of action.
Stayed one night in July. We tent camped in site 1 of the primitive campground. There are 7 sites well spaced with a picnic table, fire ring, trash can and three sided shelter in each site. Pit toilets are in the middle. Each site is along the tree line with plenty of shade. These are walk in sites ranging from 0.10 miles to 0.50 miles from the parking lot. Just $6 a night. Hiking trails, kayaking and fishing are available but we didn’t get a chance to take advantage of those things. Very friendly and helpful campground host drove over from the RV campground to register us and even offered to take our stuff to our site. Great experience. Only 3 sites in use on a Friday night.
This review is for the backpacking campsites within the Sand Ridge forest. The trail is a mix of sand and soil. It’s quite an unexpected discovery in Illinois. We didn’t see anyone else on the trail but we saw cars parked so hikers were out there.
We stopped at 2 different campsites. They are just a short distance off the trail. Each was a small clearing with forest right up to the edge. A fire pit is also available. All the backpacking sites were empty so it seems that lots of options are possible.
We didn’t come across water sources so we asked the ranger. He pointed out a couple spots the have spigots or hand pumps. Be sure to have a water supply before heading out.
The longest loop is just under 15 miles but you can do different loops together to increase mileage. There is prickly pear in this area so be careful where you step. We also were told to avoid a trail because it was sandy and a tough climb. The man said he breaks horses by riding them up the hill. If this is a concern, I recommend asking around to find the best trail for you.
This is a hidden gem right in the middle of Illinois.
Have camped here a few times and have walked the trails for years. I camped at the primitive sites my first time. The sites were clean and fairly well maintained for primitive. Picnic table and fire pit were in good shape. Plenty of shade! Camp host were very nice and helpful. Non flushable restrooms were clean and stocked. It stormed pretty bad the second night there. Woke up to find my tent wasnt so waterproof. But made most of it that morning because I was also leaving that day. On my second most recent trip we stayed in the loop on an electrical site. Once again the sites were clean and the fireplace was clean and ready. Camp host were once again very helpful and polite. The kids had a great time even though due to covid-19 the playground was closed. The only reason I am giving 4 stars is the fact that the trails and bridges were in horrible condition. It was heartbreaking to see them in this condition as I've walked them since a child.
It’s a nice get away from the city. I haven’t stayed at any of the backpacking sites, but the main campground. It is located under a bunch of tall pines, and feels fairly open. You’re close to others, and there isn’t a lot of privacy, but it is pretty. There are a lot of trails, but keep in mind a number of them will have you walking in sandy paths (hence the name). You can even spot some cacti out there, which is a site when you’re in the Midwest. There is also a verse camp, which I have walked through. It has a large pavilion, and all the sites have 0 shade. It’s about 3 hours from Chicago, so I like to hit it up for a quick get-away to avoid paying Wisconsin prices. I have never seen it packed.
It was March, it was cold at night, but this ADA cabin had heat & electric, 5 beds with mattresses, beds with mattresses (2 pr bunks beds in the second room). Cement sidewalks from parking area to toilets & cabins, each with a waterfront view, fire pit & picnic table. From our cabin we walked grassy paths to a lovely bridge. Around the pond's perimeter are dispersed sites for tent-camping or possibly day-use. It was a challenge to find the park entrance, at night, and the closest small town is about 10-miles away. The very reasonable cost was transacted online.