Carlyle Lake, which at 26,000 acres is the largest manmade reservoir in Illinois, is home to South Shore State Park. Located on land leased by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the 3-mile-long park is situated on the lake's southeast side, approximately 3 miles east of the city of Carlyle on Illinois Route 50.
Managed to preserve its natural and cultural resources, the park also provides recreational opportunities, including small-boat access, five day-use areas for picnicking, a 3/4-mile hiking trail, as well as outstanding bank-fishing opportunities. Observing wildlife, especially white-tailed deer and wild turkey, is another popular activity.
South Shore State Park is host to many wildlife species. In addition to deer, the park is inhabited by red foxes, raccoons, squirrels, woodchucks, quail, doves and songbirds, including bluebirds. Bluebird boxes, other nest structures have been placed throughout the park. Local wildlife populations also benefit from the restoration of native prairie grasses throughout the park. More than 200,000 waterfowl stop at the lake on their migratory travels north and south each winter. Along with waterfowl, other types of birds commonly seen at the park include herons and egrets, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors.
Roads wind through the park to various access points and to five day-use areas, which are well equipped with tables and grills. Crappie Cove picnic area has a first-come, first-serve shelter to accommodate family reunions and other gatherings. Water fountains and toilet facilities are conveniently located. There is no concession stand.
Many of the access areas have been rip-rapped to protect the shores from erosion. These areas also provide good fishing spots. Anglers can catch crappie, largemouth bass, white bass, walleye, bluegill, sunfish, channel catfish, carp and suckers.
A boat-launching area for small boats is found at the Deer Run Access Area, located at the northern part of the park. Immediately adjacent to the park is a large-boat ramp operated by the Corps of Engineers. No boat rental is available within the park. Motor size is not limited and sailboats are welcome on the lake.
Archery-only deer hunting is allowed in certain areas of South Shore State Park. Please review the hunter fact sheet with map of the public hunting area. If you need additional information, please call the park office at 618-594-3015
In addition to the conveniences featured at South Shore State Park, most Carlyle Lake visitors will want to look into the facilities offered by the Corps of Engineers and another Department of Natural Resources site, Eldon Hazlet State Park. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates several campgrounds, boat access areas, swimming beaches and other facilities around the lake.
For further information, call the Carlyle Lake Management Office at (618) 594-2484 or the Visitor Center at (618) 594-LAKE. The Corps also operates an information line, (618) 594-4637, featuring a recorded update on weather conditions, lake level and water temperature, fishing reports and seasonal information on recreational opportunities.
Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area,
miles north of the city of Carlyle, is one of the most popular recreational
facilities within the Illinois state park system. Park visitors enjoy
camping, boating, fishing, hunting, birdwatching and hiking, with many
people attending the sailboat regattas held most summer weekends. Full-time
park interpreters and seasonal interpreters at Eldon Hazlet provide educational
programs for school and youth groups throughout the year, while hikes,
interpretive programs and recreational activities are offered weekends
during the summer.
- While groups of
25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities,
they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid
crowding or scheduling conflicts.
- At least one responsible
adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
- Pets must be kept
on leashes at all times.
- Actions by nature
can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to
the park office before you make your trip.
- We hope you enjoy
your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
- For more information
on state parks write to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources,
Office of Public Services, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL
62702-1271, or call (217) 782-7454.
- For more information
on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and
Community Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
Device for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217)
782-9175 for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.