With its large stands of trees around its 20 mile shoreline, Horseshoe Lake is a beautiful body of water. Since 1930, when a concrete, fixed spillway was constructed, the lake has maintained a constant 4-foot depth.
Horseshoe Island, Horseshoe Lake and all areas not designated for public hunting are used to maintain waterfowl populations. A variety of food requirements are met by producing green pasture and grain crops in the refuge. Research programs, including banding, provide important information about the waterfowl. More than 50,000 birds have been trapped, banded and released through the years at Horseshoe Lake.
Bald cypress, tupelo gum and swamp cottonwood trees surround Horseshoe Lake and create spectacular scenery. Flora and fauna normally found in swampland much further south thrive in this setting. Visitors during fall and winter see large populations of waterfowl and bald eagles. Spring and summer guests will enjoy the vibrant colors of the foliage. Some of the most beautiful blooms are found on red buckeye shrubs in April and wild lotus in June.
Native southern hardwood forests are abundant, and two large, undisturbed tracts have been dedicated as Illinois Nature Preserves. These preserves are open to visitors, but also are used for scientific research and education.
Complete your visit to the "South" with a picnic at one of the four picnic areas located around the park. Each site includes picnic tables, park stoves and parking. Visitors with children might appreciate the playground located at the picnic area near the spillway.
With all the beautiful view and recreational activities at Horseshoe Lake to choose from, you may wish to stay a few days to experience them all. There are 38 Class A camping sites with electricity and showers, 40 Class B/E camping sites with electricity only, and 10 Class C sites available for overnight guests.
Hunting: This area is managed primarily for waterfowl. Many species of waterfowl stop here during the annual spring and fall migrations. White-tailed deer, bald eagles, and many other forms of wildlife are commonly observed by visitors to the area. A portion of the Public Hunting Area is managed primarily for duck hunting. The Controlled Duck Hunting area is operated on a permit basis with $10 permits being issued from the Springfield office upon application by interested hunters. Blinds will be assigned by a daily drawing and hunters will be transported to the blinds via trucks. A total of 20 blinds can accommodate 40 hunters each day. Check with the Area Headquarters or the local Conservation Police Officer for seasons, bag limits, etc. Hunter Fact sheet
Located in Alexander County just east of Illinois Route 3, 7 miles north of Cairo, the 10,200 acre area includes a 2,400 acre shallow lake. In addition to taking in the beauty of the natural features of the area, visitors enjoy picnicking, camping, boating, fishing and hunting.
Pet Friendly Notes
Pets must be kept on leashes at all times.