Toni B.
Wheaton, IL
Joined April 2018
Clean and quiet

Although we would normally wait until the last minute to book a site, we booked early this time, and were glad that we did. All tent sites were reserved a week before our trip, so best to plan ahead. We chose sites 4, 5, and 6 to accommodate our group of 7. Each site had morning shade only, and the shade from the forest to the east of the sites closed in around 5 p.m. This campsite allows up to 2 tents per site, but it was nice to spread out a bit. We chose the sites that we did expecting to have a view of the river, but the maps are misleading– there is no river view, although it’s only a few feet to the river. It’s probably for the best though, since there is a boat ramp that runs through the campground that gets plenty of use. Despite the fact that we had a fair amount of rain during our trip, our sites never got muddy, because the soil is very sandy. An annoyance when your feet are constantly dirty, but great when it’s a stormy weekend. The sites were a good size, complete with fire pit, grill grate, and picnic table, and the entire campground was well maintained. The pit toilets were cleaned daily and were always well stocked. The showers were also clean, HOWEVER, as a tent camper, you’re not allowed to use the showers.(?!!) I mean, really, what are we? Heathens? We were chased away until we removed the blue placard given at check-in. The Park has a lot of hiking trails, and other activities. The town of Winamac was pretty small, but there are canoe, kayak, and pontoon rentals nearby. We also saw a paintball court close by. Firewood($6/bundle) and ice($2/bag) are available at the park gate. There is a private, certified, gentleman selling dry, well-seasoned firewood about a mile or two north of the park on US 35, east side of the road. He charges$20 for more than 10 times the amount of wood provided by the park.

Hickory Hills Primitive

We booked a couple of days ahead of our stay, and ended up with one of the last 2 sites in the primitive tent area. The site was on the end of an inlet, and the water was full of algae– not a great view, but the lot was a decent size. Not as big as some state campgrounds that we’ve been to, but big enough for our single tent and it had a small fire ring with grate and a picnic table.  (NOTE: There appears to be a shortage of picnic tables in this area, and we ended up snatching one from the neighboring site as the residents hadn’t arrived yet. It was an east/west facing lot, and had a couple of trees of the east side, so no afternoon shade. Tough luck on a weekend with temps hanging around 90 degrees! Luckily, I had taken a large tarp and managed to rig some shade with the help of the trees. The toilets in the primitive area are pit– there are 2 sets so no one has to walk far. The toilets closest to our lot were better than I had expected from a pit– no smell in the women’s, although I was told that the men’s was pretty foul. There were, as usual, plenty of flies and spiders, but the TP was always stocked. There were flush toilets and showers near the RV camp areas. I first, used the showers in the Plum Grove section– there were 3 showers with very old with rusty, crusty shower curtains. The way that they were laid out, the changing area for the first two showers were a walkway for the other showers. However, I later used the shower close to the Staghorn area, and it was a bit newer and nicer. No walkthrough problems, and there was a door between the changing area and the main section. Overall, the entire campground was nice and well kept. The general store was small, but carried quite a bit for its size. There was also another store at Pierce Lake where they rented kayaks and paddle boats, sold fishing gear, ice cream, etc. At this same location there’s a small concession area– the hot dogs were pretty good.“Quiet time” isn’t exactly enforced(unfortunately). We were lucky enough camp on a weekend when a group(maybe 10 tents) of wannabe musicians were camping. They played bongos and guitars and sang until 11:30 p.m. Add that to the families with kids and scooters that started tooling around the tents at 7:00 a.m.(yes, technically the end of quiet time, but really?), and it could have been quieter.

NOTE:  I forgot to mention that the sites along the water's edge were covered in goose poo.  We spent around 20 minutes clearing the site.  Nature, whatcha gonna do?