Description - *This information was provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources*
With its woods, water and wildlife, Walnut Point State Park in east-central Illinois has it all - from fishing, hunting and camping to hiking, picnicking and cross-country skiing. Conveniently located within a few miles of Interstate 57, U.S. Highway 36 and Illinois Route 133, the 671-acre site is 20 miles northeast of Charleston.
Walnut Point was named for Douglas County's first pioneer settlement. No longer in existence, the community was established in the 1830's about 2 miles from the park site. The park opened in 1968 and is managed by the Department of Natural Resources.
The Natural Scene-
Although Walnut Point has numerous, developed recreational facilities, it still maintains many of its original natural features and attributes. Ash, oak, hickory, maple, walnut, locust and sassafras trees dominate the park's extensive wooded acres. The park features two winding and scenic tree-lined drives for motor vehicles. The roadsides are especially beautiful in the Spring when the redbuds and wildflowers bloom, while fall foliage colors are varied and spectacular. In addition, the park is home to a prairie restoration plot and a 65-acre nature preserve, Upper Embarras Woods.
Within the park are many mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Bird watchers will find good viewing for several different species of songbirds, owls and raptors. Wood ducks, herons and Canada geese also can be seen on and along the lake. Because of its natural diversity and viewing opportunities, Walnut Point is among the sites featured in the "Illinois Wildlife and Nature Viewing Guide."
- The Lake-
The 59-acre, multi-fingered Walnut Point Lake is the focal point of the park. It is stream fed and formed by an earthen dam located on the lake's Southern shore. The lake has a maximum average depth of 12.5 feet and 6.3 miles of shoreline.
Except for electric trolling motors, boat motors are not allowed. Swimming is not permitted.
Several types of camping are offered at Walnut Point State Park. "Class A" camping areas offer campers use of electric hook-ups and a shower building with flush toilets. In addition, "Class C" walk-in tent camping areas and a group camping area (youth and adult) are available. Drinking water and a sanitary dump station are provided. During cold weather, camp facilities are subject to closure. Campers are reminded they are required to have their primary camping unit with them before they can occupy a site and obtain a permit.
Currently, all Class "A and C" campsites are available for reservation. The group camping area and two large picnic shelters are also reservable. Please contact the park office for current information and specific details or view the Reservations website.
Recreation - Picnicking-
Eight wooded picnic areas bordering the lake offer picnic tables, outdoor grills and privies with designated parking areas close by. There are 5 large shelters for groups, eight large tables with protective roofs, 2 sets of playground equipment and 3 horseshoe pits. Drinking water is available. Firewood is not provided but is available at the concession.
Hiking and nature-study enthusiasts will find 2.25 miles of trails weaving through the timber. By using the main park road and the Gray Squirrel-Twin Points connection trail, walkers and joggers can complete a 3-mile exercise loop. All trails are restricted to foot traffic only. The Lakeside Nature Trail (.5 mile) is handicapped accessible.
With its many fingerlike coves, Walnut Point Lake provides a beautiful setting for an angler to enjoy a quality fishing experience.
Anglers can try their luck either on the lake - which supports largemouth bass, black crappie, channel catfish, redear sunfish, bluegill and brown bullhead - or along the banks of the Embarras River. Floating docks, fixed piers and two single-lane boat launches are provided for lake access. Anglers are restricted to pole-and-line fishing only.
Ice fishing and ice skating, both "at your own risk" activities, are permitted on the lake when the ice is thick enough. Ample area also is available for cross-country skiing.
Archery deer, squirrel and limited raccoon hunting are permitted. Hunters can contact the park office for current information or review the on-line Hunter Fact Sheets.
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.
Walnut Point State Park is located 20 miles northeast of Charleston and 3 miles north of Oakland. Interstate 57, US route 36, and state route 133 are three major access highways in close proximity to the park.