Beaver Dam State Park - Illinois

US National Parks and Monuments Travel Guide:

Park Overview

Located in Macoupin County 7 miles southwest of Carlinville and situated in an oak/hickory woodland, Beaver Dam State Park offers a variety of recreational opportunities on its 750 acres. Fishing, picnicking, hiking, and tent and trailer camping are among the most popular activities. Although the beaver is virtually gone from this area, the park is named for a beaver dam that created its lake.


The lake became a well-known fishing spot when in the early 1890s, 18 men from the Carlinville area formed a Beaver Dam Lake Club. They spent $2,500 to build a dam at each end of the lake and double the water depth. For a number of years the club held summer and fall picnics at the lake. Their families enjoyed fishing and boating throughout the season. The area then became the property of the family of Mrs. Sarah Rhodes, who for some time operated a small hotel which stood on the site of the present ranger residence. One mile northeast of the hotel existed a cluster of houses and a railroad stop known as Macoupin Station. Trains stopping here were met by a large horse-drawn coach which took guests to the hotel. With the advent of the automobile, however, this transit business disappeared and the hotel was closed. The initial land acquisition for Beaver Dam State Park was 425 acres in 1947. Additional land purchases have increased the park to a total of 751 acres.


The combination of upland and bottomland woods, farmland, open fields, a lake and a marsh combine to provide habitat for many kinds of animals. A quiet walker may discover deer, fox, raccoons, grey squirrels, wild turkeys, hawks, owls and woodpeckers. The park is also a home for snakes, frogs and insects. White squirrels, which are not albinos, but rather a white-color phase of the grey squirrel, are periodically seen within the park boundaries. Some different types of songbirds which enrich the natural setting are bluebirds, orioles, finches, cardinals, titmice, nuthatches, chickadees, peewees and cuckoos. Waterfowl and shorebirds are found seasonally in the park. Pileated woodpeckers are also commonly seen.


The trailer camping area has electricity at each pad and a sanitary dump station. A shower building with flush toilets is located in the center of the trailer camping area. Water is available in the area, but there are no water hookups at each site. There are 40 reservable campsites, all others are first come first served. Tent camping is in a separate area, with nearby rest rooms and water. A designated area for youth-group camping, such as Boy or Girl Scouts, features rest rooms, water, fire pads and picnic tables. When youth groups plan to use the area, make a reservation using the ReserveAmerica website. All camping is situated in wooded areas with large oak and hickory trees, which provide shade throughout most of the day. Located next to the shower house is a new Rent A Cabin available for reservation. The Rent-A-Cabin and many campsites are available for reservation using ReserveAmerica. The park does not rent tents.


There is one large section of the park available for picnicking. Picnic tables and barbecue grills are provided, or picnickers may bring their own grills. Four pavilions are located in the picnic area and can be reserved, contact the site for reservation forms.


The park contains a 59-acre lake, which has a maximum depth of 10 feet and 1.7 miles of shoreline. Over the years the lake has been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish and channel catfish. A free boat launch and docks are available for public use. No gasoline engines are allowed, only electric trolling motors. Check the information display for daily catch and size limits.

Hiking Trails

Approximately 8 miles of hiking trails are found in the park. These trails encircle the lake, lead past the marsh, and extend through various wooded areas in the park.

Playground Equipment

One set of playground equipment is located in the picnic area.

Archery Range

An archery range is located across from the concession and may be used free of charge. Archers must bring their own bow and arrows. Broadhead Points are not allowed. All archers under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

Winter Activities

When conditions are suitable, ice fishing and ice skating are permitted. Adequate snow cover permits cross-country skiing and sledding.


Take Rt. 108 west which is located 24 miles south of Springfield on I-55. Go 11 miles west to Carlinville. Travel on 108 west through Carlinville to the Amtrak Station. Turn left (south) and go 7 miles to Beaver Dam.

Take Rt. 16 west located at the Litchfield turn off on I-55. Go to Shipman. On the west side of Shipman take Carlinville Road 7 miles to Beaver Dam.


14548 Beaver Dam Lane, Plainview, Illinois 62685 -- 217.854.8020

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