Description - *This information was provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources*
Located on the banks of the Wabash River in southeastern Illinois, Beall Woods attracts visitors from around the world wanting a glimpse of one of the few remaining tracts of virgin timber east of the Mississippi River where one can see trees 120 feet tall and over 3 feet in diameter.
Besides hiking, Beall Woods also offers camping, picnicking, and fishing to the visitor who wants to spend time in a quiet, relaxing setting.
Beall Woods (pronounced Bell) had been under ownership of the Beall family since the mid-1800's. While a working farm, almost half of the 635 acres consisted of forest that had never been cleared.
When Laura Beall, the last living heir, died without a will, this land went up for auction and was sold to a man who intended to cut the timber. Many individuals and organizations came together in an effort to prevent this from happening. A trial ensued and the land was purchased by the state of Illinois in 1965 by invoking the law of eminent domain against the unwilling seller. In 1966, 329 acres of old-growth forest in Beall Woods State Park was dedicated as the 14th Illinois nature preserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. With this action, a piece of Illinois’ natural heritage was preserved so that future generations have the opportunity to see an example of the magnificent forest that once grew along the Wabash River.
- Beall Woods is one of the few remaining tracts of virgin timber east of the Mississippi River where one can see trees 120 feet tall and over 3 feet in diameter.
The new visitor center opened in April 2001 with educational displays focusing on the history of the area as well as our natural heritage.
Camping- Sixteen Class C campsites with vehicular access and restrooms but no showers or electricity are available. A disposal station is also available for the camper’s use.
No reservations are necessary for the campground. Campers are asked to set up at their chosen campsite and park personnel will come by to issue a permit.
Recreation - Interpretive Program-
The park interpreter offers a variety of nature programs at the center from April through October. Weekday programs are also available for school groups.
Picnicking- Picnic shelters, playground areas and pit toilets are located around the recreation area of the lake. No reservations are taken for the picnic areas. They are on a first come, first serve basis.
Shaded picnicking is also available near the visitor center.
In the late 1970s, a 15-acre lake was developed to provide additional recreation and scenic opportunities for park visitors. Anglers can fish for largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish. The lake is also stocked in the spring and fall for trout season. While a boat launch is located on the lake, only trolling motors may be used.
The five established trails offer the hiker an excellent view of this old-growth forest. From the easy 1-mile Tuliptree trail which features a self-guided trail brochure to the 1.25-mile moderately easy White oak trail, the nature enthusiast can get a sense of what the settlers saw when they arrived at the banks of the Wabash River.
To preserve the fragile ecosystem, hikers are urged to stay on the established trails. Pets, bicycles and horses are not allowed on the trails. Collecting or removing any natural objects is prohibited. Depending on the season, visitors should come prepared with insect repellent.
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.
Beall Woods State Park is located in Wabash County, 6 miles south of Mt. Carmel, Illinois, on Route 1 near Keensburg.