CLINTON LAKE STATE RECREATION AREA
If you?re looking for the ideal place to drop your line and catch a record fish, look no farther than Clinton Lake State Recreation Area. Recreational opportunities abound at this 9,300-acre facility, just 3 miles east of Clinton in central Illinois. From picnicking, hiking and camping to swimming, water skiing and boating to hunting for upland game, people from all over the Midwest flock to Clinton Lake to enjoy the great outdoors.
If just relaxing and watching the animal life is your interest, Clinton Lake has various small mammals and nearly 40 species of birds, including osprey, which dive into the lake for fish. In the spring, it is the place to search for morels. In the fall, it is ablaze with a rainbow of color.
The park land actually belongs to AmerGen which operates a nuclear power plant in the area. The State of Illinois has operated the park since 1978 through a long-term lease with the utility company. The partnership demonstrates that the state government and private businesses can work together to provide outstanding recreation.
Prior to the arrival of settlers in the area, the land on which the park rests primarily was upland prairie and bottomland deciduous forest. Historians believe the area likely was the site of small villages and hunting camps of tribes of the Illini Confederacy. Kickapoo also likely were in the area until the 1820?s. The first permanent European-born settlers came to the area in the 1830?s. Many of them came from Kentucky and Tennessee and farmed the land. Most of the area had been used as pasture or cropland at the time construction of the 4,900-acre lake began in the 1970s.
There are 17 Class AA campsites, 286 Class A campsites and 5 Class B/S campsites at Clinton Lake with showers and almost all are adaptable to either tents, trailers or motor homes. Each site is equipped with a grill and picnic table. Reservations are accepted for a limited number of sites by mail only, phone-in reservations are not accepted. All of camping loops H, I, J and K are alcohol free. The wooded area along the lake provides the perfect setting to turn in after a long day of fun. A group camp area for adults or youth groups has room for 75. It provides a secluded wooded setting and has a large shelter with electricity, three RV pads with electrical hookups, toilets, tables, grills and water there are no shower facilities at the group camp area. Portions of the Class AA, A & Class B/S and the group camp are wheelchair accessible. Please reserve the group campground ahead of time by contacting the park office. The shower buildings are closed by November 1st (may be earlier if bad weather) and reopen May 1st (may be earlier - weather depending).
Located close to the swim beach or accessible by car, you will find Mascoutin Grill. This concession, with indoor and outdoor dining, serves sandwiches, beverages, snacks and its ever popular fish dinner. You can also purchase bait, camping supplies and ice. Mascoutin Grill is a seasonal operation open during warm weather.
A beautiful, 1,000-foot white sand beach awaits swimmers and sunbathers looking to catch some rays or frolic in the warm waters of the lake. The beach is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm , 7 days per week, weather permitting. There is a changing facility with showers and restrooms. There are no lifeguards. Please remain in the buoyed areas and swim with caution. No pets, glass, or sharp objects are allowed on the beach. No alcohol is allowed in beach area.
Waterskiing here is a blast and is permitted from the Route 54 bridge to the Route 48 bridge. Beach fees are per day per person. Swimming is also allowed in other areas of the lake but is not allowed within 100 yards of bridges, boat ramps, or boat docks.
The upper arms of the lake are no wake areas and portions are restricted to electric trolling motors only. There are no horsepower limitations in the lake?s main basin, however. Sailboating is popular. When the wind gets up, the lake can be very rough. Small watercraft are urged to stick to the north fork arm of Salt Creek on rough days. There are six public boat ramps and one canoe launch. All IDNR ramps are now equipped with wheelchair accessible boat docks.
Clinton Lake State Recreation Area is located near Clinton, Normal
Day use areas are located around the lake with tables, stoves, water, playground equipment and toilet facilities. They are all accessible to the disabled. Shelters are available at the Mascoutin, Weldon, Lane, West Side and Penninsula access area. Mascoutin, Weldon and Peninsula have electricity. Weldon also has an open, grassy area along the shoreline for softball or fishing. A nearby wooded picnic area provides shaded protection during those long, hot summer days. The West Side Penninsula and Mascoutin areas have great views of the lake. Shelters may be reserved for a fee by calling the park office.
For your convenience, the Clinton Lake Marina, located 1 mile north of Illinois Route 10, off road 1700 East has a bait and tackle shop as well as gas, food and sundries. Slip rental, and boat sales service are also available. Call (217) 736-2727 for more information.
If just getting out and about is your interest, try the park?s three hiking trails. The 5 mile Houseboat Cove Trail north of the beach follows the shoreline and comes back through the woods. It is easy to moderate in difficulty. The 9.3 mile North Fork Trail is more challenging. It runs through the steeply wooded banks of the lake, but provides unparalleled views of the lake and opportunities to view wildlife. There are no exits anywhere, so be prepared for 4.2 miles up and 5.1 miles back. There?s also a 40-acre restored prairie along the North Fork, but beautiful wildflowers can be seen along both trails. A ten mile equestrian/hiking/cross-county ski trail is located on the north side of the lake east of the Parnell Access Area. Horse trailer parking is at that location. The area is now equipped with a wheelchair ramp for mounting horses. All equestrian trails are closed to horses from Oct. 1 to the end of archery deer season.
When the temperature drops, don?t huddle inside. Come to Clinton Lake. Ice fishing, ice skating and snowmobiling are allowed on the lake when the ice is thick enough. The North Fork and the coves on Salt Creek are good for ice fishing and skating. In the warmer areas of the lake, folks still drop their lines from the bank all winter long. The hiking and equestrian trails double as cross-country ski trails in the winter and provide a great workout.
Cottages and Cabins
Within a 10 minute drive from Starved Rock and even closer to Matthiessen State Parks you will find a gorgeous, tranquil property with spacious cabins on 50 wooded acres. All with full kitchens and outdoor fire pits. 3 dog friendly.
73.9 miles from park*
Relax in the rustic beauty and comfort of Starved Rock Lodge, Cabins and Starved Rock Inn. The historic Lodge has 69 guest rooms, which include three bay-window rooms, plus cabins nestled in the woods. Fireplaces can be found in four of the eight sunset cabins near the pool area...
80.8 miles from park*
I57, north or south bound: I57 to Champaign; exit onto I74 west to Farmer City (approximately 20 miles); exit onto Rt 54 west (left at stop sign at end of exit ramp). Take Rt 54 through Farmer City and proceed approximately 10 miles to DeWitt. Brown informational sign at DeWitt will read "Mascoutin State Recreation Area". Turn left at corner of Rt 54 and Co Hwy 14. Go through DeWitt and proceed approximately 1 mile, park is on the right side of road. Park office is first left after entering park.
I55, south bound: I55 to Bloomington; follow I55 around south side of Bloomington and take I74 east for 2 miles; exit I74 onto Rt 51 south. Take Rt 51 south to Clinton (approximately 20 miles); ignore all Clinton exits and stay on the 4-lane going around town to the 2nd stop light (Rt 54). Turn left and follow Rt 54 through Clinton; proceed approximately 10 miles to DeWitt. Brown informational sign at DeWitt will read "Mascoutin State Recreation Area". Turn right onto Hwy 14 and follow this through DeWitt; proceed approximately 1 mile, the park is on the right side of road. Park office is first left after entering park.
I55, north bound: I55 to north side of Springfield; take exit for Rt 54 east, Clinton. Stay on Rt. 54 to DeWitt (approximately 50 miles). Brown informational sign at DeWitt will read "Mascoutin State Recreation Area". Turn right onto Hwy 14 and follow this through DeWitt; proceed approximately 1 mile, the park is on the right side of road. Park office is first left after entering park.
Rt. 51 north bound: take Rt. 51 north to 2nd stop light at Clinton (Rt. 54); turn right and follow Rt. 54 through Clinton. Continue on Rt. 54 to DeWitt. Brown informational sign at DeWitt will read "Mascoutin State Recreation Area". Turn right onto Hwy 14 and follow this through DeWitt; proceed approximately 1 mile, the park is on the right side of road. Park office is first left after entering park.