What to do in Golconda Marina State Recreation Area

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

Golconda Marina is located in the southeastern portion of Pope County along a scenic stretch of the Ohio River at Golconda, IL. The 274-acre site is a full-service boat marina with 206 slips. The marina serves as the gateway to the Smithland Pool area of the Ohio River. Smithland Pool, a 23,000-acre recreational area of fingered tributaries off the Ohio River, is recognized as one of the finest fishing and boating areas in the nation.

HISTORY-The marina marks the culmination of a concerted effort by several conservation groups to bring a recreational service facility to Golconda. Originally developed as a project of the Lusk Conservancy District, and completed under a joint venture between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Golconda Marina opened in the spring of 1988 as a multi-million dollar facility. It is one of the more modern marinas on the Ohio River.

The site where the marina is located was created in 1937 when barrow dirt from this area was used to build the flood wall around the town of Golconda. The resulting pit formed a water impoundment area that offered excellent trapping and fishing opportunities.

A large bluff located on the north side of the marina is called Rauchfuss Hill. The site also has been known as Steamboat Hill, because it offers the best location to watch the steamboats go up and down the Ohio River. The U.S. Forest Service obtained ownership of the bluff and built a camping area overlooking the Ohio River. It is now owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This area offers a picnic area and a hiking trail up the historic steps on the south bluff which is registered with the National Historical Society.

Another hiking trail will be built off the old railroad bed which is 3300 feet long. This trail will be rebuilt up the east slope this winter by the Ohio River

The federal government, which has primary jurisdiction in the Smithland Lock and Dam project, leased land and water acreage to the State of Illinois for public park and recreational purposes in 1985. The area, which includes boat ramps, an access road and a parking lot, is now owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which leases the marina to a private concessionaire.

THE SMITHLAND POOL-The Smithland Pool was formed in 1980 upon completion of the Smithland Navigation Project at Hamletsburg, IL The pool is more than 72 miles long, from north of the Smithland Lock on the Ohio River to the Uniontown Lock.Water surface of the Pool is 23,000 acres. There is easy, deep-water access to Evansville, IN (110 miles). Kentucky Lake (56 miles), Barkley Lake (54 miles), and Mobile, AL (655 miles).

Recreational boaters find the miles of shoreline, numerous islands and deep, clean water of the Smithland Pool provide excellent fishing and endless hours of skiing and boating pleasure.

Golconda Marina is located in the southeastern portion of Pope County along a scenic stretch of the Ohio River at Golconda, IL.

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.

R. R. #2
Golconda, IL 62958

Phone: 618.683.5875

Email: R5Parks@dnrmail.state.il.us
  • Golconda Marina State Recreation Area Travel Q&A