Michael M.
Shelbyville, IL
Joined August 2017
Section Hiker Lone Wolf, hiked 11 states and 4 National parks. Spent 3 years travelling as a musician living in a tent car camping.
Unexpected beauty in the Panhandle

I had passed through the Texas panhandle so many times on my bi-yearly drives to Scottsdale Arizona from central Illinois, but had not stopped at this park until June of 2017. I found this on the Internet and having been to the Grand Canyon several times I wanted to compare it to this one.

The canyon is amazing and I saw a wild boar, a roadrunner, an armadillo, 7 turkey's and 2 white tail deer. In the morning after spending just one night here. It cost $16 for a site with no electricity and I reserved it online for another $4. The tent campsites all have covered pavilion structures that shade the picnic table and many people hang hammocks in them. There are fire pits with grates and porto potty's that were disgusting, so I dug a cat hole in the morning, which was a much better option. I tent camped and intended to hike some after my long day driving, but was held up in a two hour traffic jam making the hike impossible before dark. The people I found having a Birthday party in my campsite said the hiking is great here and treated me to a hamburger, a beer ( not allowed ), some great conversation and a piece of Birthday cake.

The RV campsites had shower houses and much better restrooms, so if I return here with my wife I will spring for the more deluxe campsite. I was in awe of the scenery in this canyon but surprised by the lack of groundskeeping, restroom maintenance and park management not knowing what people were doing in the campgrounds. Although I found 10 people in my reserved campsite after driving all day, I made the most of it and was happy I met this group of people.

Great Terrain for Illinois

This park has great hiking for Illinois. The campground has 88 sites total1-85 are either 30 amp or 50 amp electric sites. These are the class A sites $20 a night, they also have about 15 Class C sites for tents with no electric for $8 a night. The campground is doing some upgrades as of October 2017 and probably will be adding more 50 amp, water and sewer to some sites. There is also intel that says they are adding more sites plus more tent camping sites.

I camped in a motorhome and did not try to fight the crowd for the shower house. It is a busy campground, but I did visit in the summer busy season, so it may have less traffic in the fall. There are great hiking trails and the scenic drive to the park by the Mississippi and Illinois rivers is worth the trip alone.

I will return here for hiking for sure! I had some good luck fishing in the river near here too.

Campground Improving in 2017

There are currently 25 equestrian camp sites in this park in a different area than the normal RV and Tent campground. The campground is being upgraded this year in which I belive they are adding 50 amp full service to many of the electric only sites. There is currently walk in only unless you are reserving a horse camp. There are fantastic hiking trails and equestrian trails here and you would think you are in the mountains here. The geology is much like the Missouri area near the other bank of the Mississippi river. I have tent camped here and camped in a pop-up camper in the fall both times. Hiking is the best activity here unless you ride horses and that is great here too. This one and Wolf Creek on Lake Shelbyville are the best parks in Illinois for horse trails.

Isolated Campground on the Kaskaskia river

This campground is located behind the Spillway Motel across the highway from the Lake Shelbyville Dam. There are a few cabins and trailers that are full time residents, a boat ramp, rental canoe's and tubes, a bait shop, 16 full hookup and about 20 overnight primitive campsites at $10 a night. The campground is the only one with full access to the river after it leaves Lake Shelbyville. The fishing here and at the Spillway across the road are very good. I camped here in October and it was pretty empty, so even though you are close to town it is peaceful. This is not a well known place to go but you can have fun here with the canoe's and river fishing.

Big Campground with great lake access

I have camped here in a motorhome with full hookups and tent camped as well.

The camp sites are divided into many loops and have side pullin sites and backin sites. The RV and tent sites are grouped in the same loops and there are many that have trails from the site right to the lake and people leave the boat near the campsite but still on the water. The restrooms and shower houses are clean as all the Lake Shelbyville campgrounds are maintained by the Corps of Engineers. This campground is very busy in the prime camping season, but if you are camping with a group and have a boat this is the place to go. There are several buddy sites here that are set up very well for groups of RV's and tents camping together. There are a few isolated sites on corners of loops, but most are fairly close together. There is a swimming beach here and lots of boat traffic, but quiet hours are observed, so you can get a good night's sleep before an action packed day on the lake. The fishing is good if you have a boat, but there is very little bank fishing areas available. Part of the campground is open after Labor Day, but the main season is Memorial day to Labor day.

Great place for outdoors activities

The Lithia Springs recreation area near Shelbyville, IL. On Lake Shelbyville has so many things to offer. This is one of my favorite places on the lake for boating, swimming and group camping. There are 105 campsites and they fill up with reservations in the spring and summer months, I would recommend reserving a site on line at: https://www.recreation.gov .

The campground is run by the Corps of engineers, it is well cared for with clean shower houses and restrooms. There is a boat ramp, picnic areas, a small swimming beach and very nice lakeside campsites. Half the campsites have electric hookups and water near the sites, the other half now have full hookups and 50 amp service. It is recommended to fill your tanks as you enter so you won’t need to get water during your stay for the sites on the point, those do not have full hookups. I tent camp when I stay here now, but have camped here with a motorhome and filled up when I entered and dumped when I left for a long weekend.

All sites have picnic tables, fire rings with grates and most also have a lantern stand. Most sites have a decent amount of room between them and there are some buddy sites where you share a large table cooking area and park facing each other. There are flat areas for tents and you can have two tents as well as an RV on each site.

The marina here is great with boat gas, fishing equipment, bait, snacks and other items you might need in a pinch. They also rent fishing boats and pontoon boats so you can go on a boating excursion while camping here for a price.

There are also cabins and motel rooms with a kitchen near the park entrance if you have a desire for that kind of lodging. See the links below for that.

http://gregorysresortmotel.com/

http://www.lithiaresort.com/

Campground with all the comforts

The Forest Bo Wood Recreation area has grown each year since I first camped there in 1979.

In 2017 it has 150 camping sites, a boat ramp, fish cleaning station, several picnic areas and a bait shop at the entrance on Illinois Route 32 4 miles South of Sullivan. The camp sites all have parking space for a big rig and one vehicle. There are some tent only sites but most have been converted to at least 30 amp electric sites with water hookups near the site. Many lake side sites are available, some years back there was a problem with the bank, but that has been dealt with.

Bath rooms and shower houses are very clean and there is good bank fishing near the pavilion at the turn around at the west end of the area. There is a marina just 1 mile South and across the bridge another ½ mile is the Sullivan beach. Just 1 more mile South is a Rosatti's pizza located in a gas station with a liquor store. Rossati's delivers pizza's to the 2 campgrounds that are this close to the business. People that love the comforts of home while camping love this campground, so it fills up in the spring and summer months.

All sites are spacious and include a picnic table, lantern stand, fire pit with grill grate and some have added camp stove stands. I find that October camping at Bo Woods most agreeable with less people tent camping and less boat traffic on the lake. The fishing this time of year is also very good.

Ghost Campground - Boat Ramp Only

Just to let everyone know this used to be a Great campground and boat ramp, but the campground closed 24 years ago. The boat ramp is still available, but the Corps of Engineers closed the Whitley Creek pay and free tent campgrounds in 1994. In 1980 - 1984 I used to camp 14 days a month in the free tent camping area which gave you access to the shower house in the pay electric sites area. This was a nice campground and my home 6 months out of the year when I was young and carefree. Now there is nothing left but camping memories and it is strange to walk through it. Check out the video clip to see what 24 years of forest growth looks like. I want to set the record straight here, so someone doesn't go looking on the website and expect to find an open campsite in this area while travelling. You'll need to go to Wolf Creek, Bo Woods or the Sullivan Marina campgrounds if you want to camp in this general area of Lake Shelbyville. The boat ramp is a good place to launch here because not very many people use this ramp. Photos taken October 11th 2017.

First to Review
Nice so can be crowded

The Opossum Creek Recreation area is open year-round for the boat ramp and Disabled / children fishing pond and pier. The campground is only open Memorial Day to Labor Day. I camped here in June, however I did the photography in October so there are no campers in the shots. This campground is only about 6 miles from the town of Shelbyville where there is a Walmart, restaurant’s, gas stations, bait, hardware stores, medical care, the Shelbyville Dam, Beach, City Park with lakeside trails and firewood. This proximity to facility’s makes it popular, so having less than 100 campsites it tends to fill up quickly. It is advisable to book ahead on-line if you want to stay here. The sites are nice and the park is clean, but the sites are close together. The boat ramp is well thought out with tons of parking and being close to town is usually busy in the summer season. This campground is also cared for by the Corps of Engineers and seasoned camp hosts man the gate house at the campground. The disabled fishing pond is well stocked so it is easy for wheel chair bound fishermen to catch their daily quota. I recommend this campground for people with motorhomes, fifth-wheels and campers that want to take in the Shelbyville lake town experience while visiting.

Great camping all year round

We have camped here many times and this time was awesome as well. The park is huge and is one of the only state park's in Illinois with horse camping and horse trails. There are 13 horse camp sites and additional trailer parking for about 6 more rigs with tie out posts for riders that will not be camping. There are several miles of horse trails and the area is set apart from hiking trails and the other camping areas. There are hundreds of campsites in this park in addition to the horse campgrounds and the entire area is maintained by the US Corps of Engineers. There are full hookup RV sites everywhere with tons of flush toilet bathrooms and shower houses in each large section. There is also a tent camp area without electricity, these sites are cheaper and there are lake front sites available here too. There is a beach that closes after Labor Day, but there are lots of sites available all year round. There are lots of hiking trails and deer run through the park in herds in the winter months. The hiking is OK in this park and good if you like short 1 to 1 1/2 mile hikes. I recommend visiting in the fall after Labor Day, October when leaves are changing is my favorite time for this campground. Clean restrooms, showers and a small store at the entrance for bait, firewood or forgotten items make this a great place to spend a few days.

Website: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/Parks/Pages/WolfCreek.aspx

Great Hiking and Quiet Camping

I have been here hiking many times but camped only 1 time in July of 2017. There are good campsite for both RVs and tent camping with clean restrooms and shower house. The park and trails are usually busy since the park is near the Eastern Illinois University. The no-drinking campground prevents many noisy student campouts. The hiking trails are some of the best in the state because the glaciers dropped of mountains of soil in the area where this park is located. The surrounding farm land is flat as can be, but the forested hills and creek beds in the park are almost mountainous. Bring everything you need for the weekend with you, there are no businesses close to the park. This is a great place for day hiking and a weekend getaway.

Peaceful and fun camping

I visited this park in July of 2017 and July of 2007, it was loads of fun both times. There are great sites for both RVs and tent campers, fairly good fishing and hiking and clean restrooms. The thing that sets this place apart from other State Park Campgrounds is the concession stand and operators. Both times I stayed there they held a dinner special, RibEye sandwiches and walleye to choose from at a very reasonable price and had a band playing from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The bands were good and the food was great. If your in the mood for a camping weekend that is not so rustic this is a good time.

Nice but crowded

We stayed in a 30 foot motorhome, hoping for a Saturday afternoon hike and Sunday morning hike. The campground is very busy and the sites are very close together. The restrooms and shower house is impossible to keep clean with the volume of traffic through them. It is also not recommended to have a campfire, because when every campsite has a fire burning the smoke is too thick to enjoy sitting outside. This campground has the feel of a KOA located just off the interstate with noisy neighbors all around, traffic, dogs barking and children playing all night long.

The trails are nice and if you get an early morning start you can get in some enjoyable hiking. To get a reasonable overnight do these things. Do not have a campfire, use the restroom and shower in your camper, turn in early and start hiking at first light.

Great RV sites and Hiking Trails

I stayed here in April in a class C motorhome and the sites by the lake are great. Long enough for a larger motorhome than I had that was 30 feet. A pulling vehicle or a fifth wheel would be good here because there is no stores or businesses close to the campgrounds. The park is great and the sites have everything there, picnic tables, firepits and full RV hookups. The shower house and restrooms are clean and the trails are well maintained. The hiking is fantastic and if you have lots of money a meal in the Lodge I hear is very good.

Nice views fishing not so great

This campground is right on the Ice Age Trail and a nice place to stop off during an extended hike.

There are not that many sites available here and most do supply electricity. More people tent camp here rather than RV camping. There are pit toilets but no shower house although there are water spigots for drinking water. The sites are closer together than some campgrounds but it's not like a city block of camps like some KOA's I have camped at. The night time temperatures dipped in the low 30's in the middle of May when I was there. The campground attendants were on site twice a day to sell firewood and collect camping fees. The DNR rangers do patrol the campgrounds on a regular basis. There is places all along the river to fish and I was told the fishing is good, however I did not have very much luck when I was there. The campground firepits with cooking grates were OK and the wooden picnic tables are worn, but there is level ground for pitching tents.

The scenery and hiking along the river and on the Ice Age Trail is great. If you had better luck fishing than I did this would have been a great camping weekend. Bring warm cloths and a great sleeping bag.

Great Lakeside Camping

I have camped here in the past and enjoy primitive tent camping so I stayed Friday September 29th and Saturday September 30th in the tent camping drive up site #2. There is also a tent camping walk in area with 2 lake front sites that are about 150 yards from the parking area and about eight other sites in between. There is a building with men's and women's flush toilets here for both primitive campgrounds. These are cheaper campsites than in the RV area where you have the shower house, nicer bathrooms and electric hookups. There are lots of nice shaded sites in these campgrounds and all have fire ring grates, lantern posts, picnic tables and some have pole mounted campstove tables as well. The camp hosts do a great job keeping this place clean, maintaining a quiet campground and supplying firewood for the campers. The park has a boat ramp, playground areas, the Chief Illini trail plus a couple short trails. There is a golf course and a run down lodge / hotel that has been closed for several years. There is tons of deer and other animals to watch and watch out that they don't steal your food while you are sleeping. The wild life is great for photography and makes for some good fireside stories.

This is my second favorite place to camp on the lake, although not as peaceful as Lone Point it does have the Chief Illini trailhead here and makes for nice round trip hiking camping adventures.

This park is open year round so the fantastic camping in spring and fall are available. You should watch out for hunters in the area when bow season starts October 1st.

The River runs through it

The website listed for this campground is correct Ponderosa campground Antonito, CO.

Phone 719.376.5857

This is a very relaxing place to stay and it seems like most of the people there have been there many times before. The drive in is easy on Route 17 and does not require a vehicle with high ground clearance. They do allow campfires, they have clean bathrooms and a shower house. I stayed in a backpacking tent after driving all day arriving on a Friday at about 4:00 PM. The campground is set-up for small campers and has some cabins for rent too. The bathrooms with showers are clean and comfortable. The sites have fire rings with grates and picnic tables. The owner manager is great, providing quality fishing advice, conversation and even a free cup of coffee in the morning. Hiking on the CDT is near the campground and fishing is right in the campground. The steam train is right up the pass and I happened to be there the night before opening day catching a photo when I drove over the pass to Chama New Mexico. The Cumbres and Toltec Train traveling between Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico. This is a very nice drive and Chama is a cool place to visit, it is a trail town on the CDT.

I will visit this campground again for sure.

Lakeside wonder

I tent camped in a large tent, car camping, Friday and Saturday night.

I have camped here as well as all the Lake Shelbyville campgrounds many times before. Lone Point campground is actually 14 miles from my rural home in Shelbyville, IL. and is my favorite Lake Shelbyville campground.

There are many nice sites here along the lake and in the wooded areas around the lake. The sites have electricity and water near by. Fire rings with grates, lantern posts, picnic tables and level parking areas. Some sites have limited level areas for tents, but there are lots of sites to choose from. I like camping here because it is the least visited campground on the lake, so it can be quiet and you can get a site with a view. The bathrooms are clean and there is a shower house. There is a 12 mile trail from Lone Point to Eagle creek along the lake shore line, this trail is moderate to difficult hiking. I recommend this campground over all the others on Lake Shelbyville. The campgrounds and park are maintained by the US Army corps of engineers and reservations can be made online through recreation.gov.

The main campground closes on Labor Day however there is a small section near the boat ramp open year round and this has nice sites in it with camp stove stands as well as grills and awesome fire pits. The trail Chief Illini trailhead is located in the parking area and the trail is fairly well maintained during the regular campground open season. The trail is open year round and can be hiked from one end to the other spending a night at either campground for return trip the next day.

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):

39.45222, -88.74028

39°27'8"N, 88°44'25"W

First to Review
Great for a weary traveler

Visited the coal mine campground after driving a 500 mile day, so it was a set-up eat and crash situation. I did make a reservation on line, but that cost more than the $5 per site fee and was not necessary even though it was memorial day weekend. The fee is great because it is primitive, no electricity, no water at all, not just hookups, but the bathrooms were nice and clean with no sinks.

If you are prepared for a primitive camp with your own water and batteries for your electronics it is great. They have fire rings, grills, picnic tables and level places for tents.There are also nice back-in sites for boondocking RVs and the road up to the campground is fine for big rigs.

I ran into two mountain biker's here from Ireland that were riding the Continental Divide trail from The Mexican border in New Mexico to the Canadian border in Montana. They were staying here since the Trail goes through here. Paddy & Conner were very interesting people and I was fortunate to have run into them here.

I enjoyed my stay with a peaceful quite nights sleep and a short hike in the morning before breakfast cooked on the campfire. I would recommend this over a hotel stay if your passing through Grant's New Mexico on I40. You can probably get a site for the night anytime your passing through.