Description - *This information was provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources*
Randolph County State Recreation Area is a mecca for outdoor recreational activities. Fishing, hiking, picnicking, boating, hunting and camping are just a few of the choices, keeping even the most outdoorsman content on 1,101 acres. Located five miles north east of Chester in Randolph County, it lies in the rolling hill country of southern Illinois. Offering a cool retreat from hot summer days, well shaded picnic areas, hiking trails and scenic forest stands await park visitors. There’s a diverse offering at beautiful Randolph County State Recreation Area.
In 1958, land was purchased and plans were started to build a dam and spillway for a 65-acre lake. The lake was completed in 1961 and since that time, recreational facilities have been added to provide picnic shelters, toilets, a boat ramp and a concession stand.
The area is renowned for its wooded areas and abundance of songbirds and wildlife. Hikers on the trail may see woodpeckers, hawks, turkeys, deer, squirrels and waterfowl as they wind through woods and open fields, and around the lakeshore. 11.6 miles of horse trails provide riders with the same panorama of sights and sounds.
Ninety-five Class C campsites are available throughout the area. A group camp area has its own shelter, stone fireplace, electricity and tables.
Recreation - Fishing-
Randolph County Lake is a clear-water lake and is stocked with channel catfish, redear and bluegill sunfish, and rainbow trout. Game fish such as largemouth bass, green sunfish, bullhead and crappie also can be found so no angler should be disappointed. A concession stand has fishing supplies and bait as well as rental boats on a seasonal basis. Boat motors are limited to 10 horsepower.
A wonderful escape from a hot summer day awaits visitors in any of the six picnic areas. Nestled among hickory, oak, sweetgum and tulip trees, the picnic areas have shelters, tables, fire grills, and water fountains. Some of the shelters can be reserved, so plan ahead and bring your family and friends.
Squirrel hunters will find plenty of grey and fox squirrels which can be hunted with shotgun or bow. Dove, deer, rabbit, quail and woodcock are popular game species. Hunters must check at the park office for a hunter fact sheet, map and regulations.
On cold, wintry days, the horse trails provide a perfect path for cross-country skiing enthusiasts. For nature observers, winter is a great time to see many varieties of wildlife along the hiking trails and scenic areas.
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.
All access to the area is from the west entrance off Palestine Rd. Coming from the North on Route 3 one will turn east on Shawneetown Trail south of the town of Ellis Grove. At Palestine turn south on Palestine Road and proceed two miles then turn left at the entrance sign. Coming from the north on Route 150 turn west on Shawneetown Trail and proceed to Palestine then turn south on Palestine Road and proceed to the entrance sign and turn left into the area. Coming from the south from Chester head north on Palestine Road to the entrance sign and turn right into the area.