What to do in Beaver Dam State Park

*This information was provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources*

Located in Macoupin County 7 miles southwest of Carlinville and situated in an oak/hickory woodland, Beaver Dam State Park offers a variety of recreational opportunities on its 750 acres. Fishing, picnicking, hiking, and tent and trailer camping are among the most popular activities. Although the beaver is virtually gone from this area, the park is named for a beaver dam that created its lake.

Park History- The lake became a well-known fishing spot when in the early 1890s, 18 men from the Carlinville area formed a Beaver Dam Lake Club. They spent $2,500 to build a dam at each end of the lake and double the water depth. For a number of years the club held summer and fall picnics at the lake. Their families enjoyed fishing and boating throughout the season. The area then became the property of the family of Mrs. Sarah Rhodes, who for some time operated a small hotel which stood on the site of the present ranger residence. One mile northeast of the hotel existed a cluster of houses and a railroad stop known as Macoupin Station. Trails stopping here were met by a large horse-drawn coach which took guests to the hotel. With the advent of the automobile, however, this transit business disappeared and the hotel was closed. The initial land acquisition for Beaver Dam State Park was 425 acres in 1947. Additional land purchases have increased the park to a total of 751 acres.

Wildlife- The combination of upland and bottomland woods, farmland, open fields, a lake and a marsh combine to provide habitat for many kinds of animals. A quiet walker may discover deer, fox, raccoons, grey squirrels, wild turkeys, hawks, owls and woodpeckers. The park is also a home for snakes, frogs and insects. White squirrels, which are not albinos, but rather a white-color phase of the grey squirrel, are periodically seen within the park boundaries. Some different types of songbirds which enrich the natural setting are bluebirds, orioles, finches, cardinals, titmice, nuthatches, chickadees, peewees and cuckoos. Waterfowl and shorebirds are found seasonally in the park. Pileated woodpeckers are also commonly seen.

Camping- The trailer camping area has electricity at each pad and a sanitary dump station. A shower building with flush toilets is located in the center of the trailer camping area. Water is available in the area, but there are no water hookups at each site. All campsites are first come first serve. Tent camping is in a separate area, with nearby rest rooms and water. A designated area for youth-group camping, such as Boy or Girl Scouts, features rest rooms, water, fire pads and picnic tables. When youth groups plan to use the area, the site superintendent's office should be notified in advance by calling (217) 854-8020 to make a reservation for the group camping area. All camping is situated in wooded areas with large oak and hickory trees, which provide shade throughout most of the day. Located next to the shower house is a new Rent A Cabin available for reservation by calling the park office. Only the Rent-A-Cabin is available for reservation, all campsites are first come first serve. The park does not rent tents.

Recreation
Picnicking- There is one large section of the park available for picnicking. Picnic tables and barbecue grills are provided, or picnickers may bring their own grills. Four pavilions are located in the picnic area and can be reserved, contact the site for reservation forms.

Concession- The concession stand on the lake is open from April through mid-October each year. Food, picnic supplies, live bait, tackle, boat rentals and fishing licenses are available.

Fishing- The park contains a 59-acre lake, which has a maximum depth of 10 feet and 1.7 miles of shoreline. Over the years the lake has been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish and channel catfish. A free boat launch and docks are available for public use. No gasoline engines are allowed, only electric trolling motors. Check the information display for daily catch and size limits.

Hiking Trails- Approximately 8 miles of hiking trails are found in the park. These trails encircle the lake, lead past the marsh, and extend through various wooded areas in the park.

Archery Range- An archery range is located across from the concession and may be used free of charge. Archers must bring their own bow and arrows. Broadhead Points are not allowed. All archers under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

Winter Activities- When conditions are suitable, ice fishing and ice skating are permitted. Adequate snow cover permits cross-country skiing and sledding.

Hunting- Spring Turkey, Archery Deer, Furbearer Trapping, and Squirrel hunting is available at Beaver Dam during the regulated seasons.

Location
Take Rt. 108 west which is located 24 miles south of Springfield on I-55. Go 11 miles west to Carlinville. Travel on 108 west through Carlinville to the Amtrak Station. Turn left (south) and go 7 miles to Beaver Dam.

Take Rt. 16 west located at the Litchfield turn off on I-55. Go to Shipman. On the west side of Shipman take Carlinville Road 7 miles to Beaver Dam.

Climate
Illinois experiences four distinct seasons with varying weather throughout the year. Winter can be very cold. The highest humidity of the year occurs during this season averaging 70 to 75 percent. Average low temperatures in January dip to 20 degrees F with highs near 35 degrees F. Spring temperatures are mild with humidity below 70 percent. Temperatures during this season average between 32 and 50 degrees F. Summer is usually hot and humid in this Midwest state. Low temperatures remain in the low sixties with high temperatures near 90 degrees F. The highest rainfall of the year occurs during the summer months. Fall is an excellent time to visit the state with low humidity and rainfall and moderate temperatures.

Address
14548 Beaver Dam Lane
Plainview, IL 62685

Phone: 217.854.8020

Email: r4parks@dnrmail.state.il.us

  • Beaver Dam State Park Travel Q&A

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