Located on the banks of the
Wabash River in southeastern Illinois, Beall Woods State Park attracts visitors from
around the world who are interested in experiencing one of the few remaining tracts
of virgin timber east of the Mississippi River. At Beall Woods, visitors can see trees
120 feet tall and more than 3 feet in diameter.
Besides hiking, Beall Woods also offers visitors a quiet, relaxing setting for camping,
picnicking and fishing.
Beall Woods (pronounced Bell) had a working farm
owned by the Beall family since the mid-1800s with almost half of the 635 acres of forest that had never been cleared.
When Laura Beall, the last living heir, died
without a will, the property went up for auction and was sold to a man who
intended to cut the timber. Many individuals and organizations came together
to prevent this from happening, a trial ensued and the land
was purchased by the state of Illinois in 1965 by invoking the law of
eminent domain against the unwilling seller. In 1966, 329 acres of old-growth
forest in Beall Woods State Park was dedicated as the 14th
Illinois nature preserve by the Illinois
Nature Preserves Commission. With this action, a piece
of Illinois’ natural heritage was preserved so that future generations
have the opportunity to see an example of the magnificent forest that
once grew along the Wabash River.
The new visitor
center opened in April 2001 with educational displays focusing on
the history of the area as well as Illinois' natural heritage.
The park interpreter offers a variety of
nature programs at the center from April through October. Weekday programs
also are available for school groups. For more information on either type
of program, click here.
Picnic shelters, playground areas and pit
toilets are located around the recreation portion of the lake. They are on a first come, first serve
Shaded picnicking also is available near
the visitor center.
In the late 1970s, a 15-acre lake was developed
to providepark visitors additional recreational opportunities and a scenic backdrop.
Anglers can fish for largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish. The lake also is stocked in the spring and fall for trout season. While a boat launch
is located on the lake, only trolling motors may be used.
Class C campsites with vehicular access and restrooms, but no showers or
electricity, are available. A disposal station is available for
camper’s use. Individuals interested in utilizing the group camground are encouraged to call the site headquarters to avoid scheduling conflicts.
No reservations are necessary for the campground.
Campers are asked to set up at their chosen campsite and park personnel
will come by to issue a permit.
established trails offer hikerd excellent views of Beall Woods' old-growth
forest. From the easy 1-mile Tuliptree Trail, which features a self-guided
trail brochure, to the 1.25-mile moderately easy White Oak Trail, the nature
enthusiast can get a sense of what the settlers saw when they arrived
at the banks of the Wabash River.
To preserve the fragile ecosystem, hikers
are urged to stay on established trails. Pets, bicycles and horses
are not allowed on trails. Collecting or removing any natural objects
is prohibited. Depending on the season, visitors should come prepared
with insect repellent.
Tuliptree Trail - An easy 1-mile upland
forest trail. Several self-guided brochures featuring tree identification
and spring wildflowers growing along this trail are available for visitor
use and can be picked up at the trail entrance or in the visitor center.
White Oak Trail - With the exception
of two flights of steps, the White Oak Trail is a moderately easy 1.25-mile
trail offering hikers the greatest variety of vegetation and forest
conditions. It passes over five soil types, through good examples of upland
and bottomland forest and gives visitors a sense of what the settlers
experienced when arriving at this part of the state. For those interested
in a longer hike, the Ridgway Trail is accessed from the White Oak Trail.
Ridgway Trail - This 1.75-mile moderately
easy trail is accessed from the White Oak Trail. It is a dedicated, living
memorial to Robert Ridgway, one of America's foremost ornithologists (a
person who studies birds), who spent his boyhood in this area. Closed
periodically during flooding, this trail winds through a reforested field
and features several varieties of bottomland oak and hickory trees. A
combined White Oak-Ridgway Trail walk is 3 miles in length.
Sweet Gum Trail - This .50 mile easy
trail follows Coffee Creek and features an interesting rock cliff. Many
plants adapted to cool, moist and shady conditions thrive here. The visitor
must access this trail from the park's north side. The trail is closed
periodically due to flooding.
- This trail is dedicated to Dr. Jacob Schneck, a pioneer Mount Carmel
physician and botanist. This easy 1.75-mile trail is accessed from the
park's north side and is closed periodically due to flooding.
Beall Woods is open year-round from
sunrise to 10 PM.
In an effort to reduce the negative impacts
white-tailed deer are having on the nature preserve, a deer management
program has been implemented at Beall Woods utilizing the archery season.
Beall Woods State Park is located in Wabash
County, 6 miles south of Mt. Carmel, Illinois, on Route 1 near Keensburg.
Please visit www.southeastillinois.com for information about the area.
- 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
- 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 tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community
Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
- Telecommunication Device
for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175
for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.