Description - *This information was provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources*
Just miles west of Chicago, off U.S. 30, urban sprawl gives way to 1,550 acres of rolling prairie and features a 318.8 acre man-made fishing lake. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area provides a convenient, natural haven from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
A unique mix of grass-covered meadows, upland mesic woods, bottomland woods, and a native, undisturbed fen, make this an ideal location for natural relaxation and outdoor activity. You can see sedges, cattail, marsh marigolds, horsetail, skunk cabbage, turtlehead, iris, blue joint grass and bulrushes. Also enjoy the areas of prairie restoration throughout the park which features prairie grasses such as Big Blue Stem and prairie flowers such as purple cone flower.
With facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and winter sports, Shabbona Lake is a convenient and comfortable retreat where you can refresh and reinvigorate yourself in a rare, unspoiled environment.
In addition, Shabbona Lake contains a 15-acre seasonal nesting area for migratory waterfowl such as Canvasback, redhead and pintail ducks and Canada Geese.
Originally home to tribes of Native Americans, the park derives its name from Chief Shabbona. Pioneer settlement of the area began in the 1830's. From Shabbona Grove, in the southeast corner of the park, homesteaders spread over the region and began farming the rich soil.
In 1965, it was decided to develop a lake and recreation area on the site, and land acquisition was begun in 1969. By 1978, 1,550 acres had been obtained. In 1973, the lake area was cleared of trees, the shoreline was modified and earthen fishing piers and fish congregators were erected. By 1975, a 3,000-foot-long earthen dam with a concrete spillway was completed and the lake was formed. Day use facilities were constructed in 1976 and continue to serve the public today. In 1995 a restaurant, boat rental and bait and tackle facility was opened for business. This facility provides a sit-down eating area serving breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a fully stocked bait and tackle shop. Boat rentals include boats with and without motors.
The campground has 150 Class A sites with electricity, vehicle access, a sanitary dump station and a shower building with flush toilets. All facilities are handicapped accessible. Reservations are accepted for certain sites. Alcohol is prohibited in the campground. One family per campsite or four unrelated adults with up to two tents are allowed. Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring. You must have your camping equipment and be ready to camp when you arrive; you cannot hold a site. Campgrounds may be closed during the spring thaw due to road conditions and shower facilities close during the winter. To check on campground status or for further information, phone the camp station at 815-824-2565 or the park office 815-824-2106.
Two camp cabins are available at the park. The cabins have no water or toilet facilities but have two rooms and will accommodate a maximum of 6 people. There is electric baseboard heat so they can be used year-round. The cabins can be reserved for $45. Contact the park office for further details.
Recreation - Picnicking-
Visitors can picnic at any of three major day use areas situated along the western shore of the lake. Parking, water and rest rooms are available, as well as horseshoe pits. Shelters may be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact the park office to make reservations.
Just over eight miles of scenic hiking and cross-country skiing trails weave through the wooded areas of the park. A trail brochure is available at the office. A specially developed cassette tape can guide you along on the "Touch the Earth" trail. The tape and a special brochure is available at the park office.
Fishing and Boating-
Whether fishing from a boat or shore, both are popular and productive at Shabbona Lake, which is stocked with large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass, black and white crappie, black and brown bullhead, channel catfish, walleye, muskie and perch. For fish catch and size limits, contact the park office.
Lake access is available from a double-lane launching ramp. Boat motors are limited to a 10 horsepower maximum. However, an 18-acre upper fishing area is a no-wake zone where only the use of electric trolling motors or rowing is permitted. For further details, including information on special sailing regulations, contact the park office.
Swimming and/or wading is prohibited at Shabbona Lake. This regulation is strictly enforced.
Archery deer hunting and firearm dove hunting are available on 744 acres. The Steward Habitat Area, a satellite area of Shabbona Lake, is a permit-only pheasant hunting area. Contact the park office for further details.
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.
Shabbona Lake State Park is easily accessible from the Chicago area via I-88. Take I-88 west to the Sugar Grove exit, which is approximately 2 ½ miles west of the Aurora toll booth. Take US 30 west from Sugar Grove approximately 22 miles to Shabbona. Visitors from the Northeast or Southeast, take IL Rt 47 to US 30 west to Shabbona.
Visitors from the Southwest or Northwest, take I-39 to US 30 (exit 87). Directional signs are on the exit ramps. Take US 30 east 7 miles to Shabbona. From the DeKalb area, take IL Rt 23 south to US 30, then take US 30 west to Shabbona. The park entrance is on Preserve Road, approximately ½ mile south of Shabbona. Signs in Shabbona will direct you to the park.