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  Ramsey Lake - State Recreation Area   

South Region

Ramsey Lake Rd.
P.O. Box 97
Ramsey, IL 62080
timbered shoreline
Site Map Cross Country Skiing Picnicking
Boating Fishing Snowmobiling
Camping History Trails
Concession Hunting Winter Sports

Rolling hills, timbered shoreline and beautiful Ramsey Lake make this state recreation area a unique and popular recreation spot. Visitors will enjoy the picturesque woods, secluded picnic areas and excellent fishing and hunting opportunities. Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area is the perfect place for people who want to relax or for those energetic outdoor types who want to hike, hunt, fish or camp. The park is located mile northwest of Ramsey in Fayette County.


Ramsey Lake has a colorful background. For years, the park was known as "Old Fox Chase Grounds" because of its use by fox and coon hunters. It also was the site of one of the largest dog trial events, which was held near the big springs at the northwest corner of the present lake. Other events, such as dances, carnivals and a large machinery display, attracted many people. Although privately owned by S.E. Stokes, the site often was used by various groups for public recreational use. In 1947, 815 acres were purchased for a lake site and an additional 1,000 acres have been added since. Throughout the years, county and township officials, concerned citizens and civic groups have actively helped secure land and upgrade and maintain the area, which now totals 1,980 acres.


For large groups, Shady Grove and Lakeview picnic areas offer ideal surroundings. Both have shelters, water, tables, stoves and privies. Shady Grove also has playground equipment. For people who prefer smaller, more secluded picnics, Fox Knoll, Coon Ridge and Blackberry Fork Picnic areas are popular choices. These sites have tables and stoves and are located in shady areas on knolls overlooking the lake.


Campers have many sites from which to choose to pitch a tent or park a trailer. The area includes 90 campsites available with a sanitary disposal station, electricity, and a flush toilet and shower building. Another 24 sites are available with electricity for organized groups. Hickory Grove is the choice for those needing only picnic tables, fire pads and privies. Hickory Grove also has 45 sites available in a densely wooded area with unequalled views of shady trees and natural beauty. Water hydrants are conveniently placed throughout the campgrounds. A special site is available for organized youth groups. Reservations are available for portions of the campgrounds. Contact the site office for information.

trail through the treesTrails

A 1-mile trail winds through the park. Visitors also often use the unmarked fire lanes which make good paths for easy walking.

A 13-mile horse trail is located in the north end of the area along with a small campground for horse enthusiasts. This area is 1 mile north of the park entrance.


Fishing is a favorite pastime for Ramsey Lake visitors. To maintain a desirable fish population, the lake is managed by draw-downs and stocking. Some of the species include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish and black crappie. Fishing supplies are available at the concession stand.


A launching ramp and boat dock are conveniently located on Ramsey Lake, rental boats also are available. Gas motors are not allowed, but electric trolling motors are permitted. Fishing is allowed on several ponds located at the site as well as on Ramsey Lake.


Hunters will find abundant game at Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area. Dove, squirrel, quail and pheasant can be hunted with shotgun. Deer can be hunted only with bow. A controlled pheasant and quail program is run during the hunting season. Other hunting dates and times may differ from state regulations.  For more information see the Hunter Fact Sheet

Winter Sports

Winter activities are popular at Ramsey Lake. Ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, sledding and ice skating are among recreational activities for the cold-weather sports enthusiast. The 13-mile designated snowmobile trail provides a winter wonderland view of the park when snow cover and weather permits.


A concession stand near the boat dock, offers visitors opportunites to purchase food and a variety of camping, picnicking and fishing supplies.

  • 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 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.

Parks & Recreation

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Springfield, IL 62702
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