rolling hills and woods surround star-shaped Lake Murphysboro and provide
a wonderful backdrop for boating, fishing, picnicking, camping and hiking.
Located in Jackson County about 1 mile west of Murphysboro off Route
149, the 1,022-acre state park is the perfect place to enjoy the great
for both the Old Woodland and Paleolithic Native American cultures has
been uncovered at the site. The Paleo people lived in small, temporary
camps and were known as big game hunters. The Woodland culture left more
evidence, since it was agricultural and known for large settlements.
By the early 1800s, no Native American settlements existed in the immediate
When Illinois was
admitted to the Union in 1818, the federal government gave Illinois three
saline lands. One of them, located less than a mile southwest of the park,
was leased to Dr. Conrad Will, who served in both the Illinois House and
Senate in the early days of statehood. Dr. Will operated a salt works
at the site, and the town of Brownsville grew up around it. The salt works
closed in 1840, and all that remains of the town is the cemetery.
Although the state
of Illinois did not purchase the 1,022 acres that would become Lake Murphysboro
State Park until 1948, interest in the area as a public recreational park
began in the 1930s. Originally developed by the states Division
of Fisheries, Lake Murphysboro State Park was transferred to the Division
of Parks and Memorials in 1955. Today, the park is maintained by the Department
of Natural Resources.
Built in 1950 by
the Division of Fisheries, the 145-acre lake is a tributary of Indian
Creek and has a watershed of approximately 4,500 acres. The maximum water
depth is 36 feet, and the lakes 7.5 miles of shoreline are made
up of rolling hills covered with a wide variety of trees. A 600-foot dam
is located at the south end of the park. A smaller lake, appropriately
called Little Lake, is located just north of Lake Murphysboro.
Soon after its completion,
Lake Murphysboro was stocked with breeder-size and yearling-size largemouth
bass. In the fall of 1951, redear sunfish were introduced, followed by
bluegill the next spring. Channel catfish are frequently stocked.
To maintain a healthy fish population, submerged vegetation and water
draw-downs are used to keep the number of small panfish down.
of native wild orchids may be found in the wooded areas of the park. Yellow
ladys slipper, showy, purple fringeless, twayblade, puttyroot, coralroot
and ladies tresses are just some of the varieties to watch for.
The variety of orchids makes it possible to find blooming plants throughout
wooded hills include groves of majestic oak and hickory trees, as well
as many other types of trees.
archery range is located in the northwest section of the park.
you visit Lake Murphysboro State Park to fish, hike or picnic, you will enjoy the shaded picnic areas located in convenient
locations around the lake.
larger groups there are two shelter houses, one with drinking water and
playground equipment. Parking areas are available at both shelters. Handicapped-accessible
toilet facilities are located in the concession area and in the Big Oak
and Water Lily camping areas. ADA restrooms are available at both shelters.
its gentle hills and shady shores, Lake Murphysboro is a popular retreat
for bank fishing. No matter what form of fishing one prefers, anglers
will appreciate the variety of fish available: largemouth bass, bluegill,
redear sunfish, channel catfish and crappie.
An accessible fishing pier and boat transfer station are available.
can bring their own boat or rent one near the boat launch. The outboard
motor limit is 10 hp.
Bank and boat fishing also are available on Little Lake, but no motors
campsites located in scenic areas of the park provide the perfect opportunity
to extend your stay at Lake Murphysboro. Campers who want to truly experience
nature will appreciate the 20 tent sites.
who love nature, but like the comfort of home, will prefer the 54 trailer
sites that are equipped with electricity. Three
Class A handicapped sites and one Class B/S handicapped site are available.
A sanitary disposal station is located near the trailer area. All campers
must obtain a permit from the site office. Reservations can be made at www.ReserveAmerica.com
3mile designated trail offers hikers the opportunity to enjoy the
plant, animal and bird life of the park. For those who prefer
to explore nature on their own, several paths criss-cross through the
park's wooded hills.
Lake Murphysboro State Park is located in Jackson County on the
north side of Rt. 149, approximately 2 miles west of Murphysboro.
From Rt. 13, 127, and 149 junction, take Rt. 149 west 2 miles to
the entrance of Lake Murphysboro State Park/Kinkaid Lake. From Rt.
3, take 149 east approximately 5 miles to the entrance of Lake Murphysboro
State Park/Kinkaid Lake.