Recreational Opportunities



  • HIKING – 25 miles of trails, plus the 11 mile back pack trail and the asphalt handicapped trail (1/3 mile).
    • Modern Campgrounds – 50 amp electrical service; shower building, dump stations, water available, camp store, campground host. Includes 42 sites (34 electric), fees
    • Tent Campground – 16 sites – completely wooded – walk-in only; picnic table and fire ring provided; water available; use of shower building in modern campgrounds (walking distance); fees
    • Group Campground – 6 primitive sites( no water available, pit toilets); organized groups only; no recreational vehicles (motor homes or trailers); pre-registration required; fee dependent on number of persons.
    • East Camp – 3 sites located at the 7.5 mile mark of the River Ridge Back Pack Trail; pit toilet and fire rings; advanced reservation required
  • PICNICKING – Several wooded picnic areas have easy access by vehicle; tables and grills (some have fire pits); also “click” General Information for rental buildings.
  • BOATING/CANOEING – Includes:
    • Vermilion River (Canoe)
    • Willow Creek Pond (electric motors only)
  • WILDLIFE VIEWING – Registered as an Illinois Wildlife Viewing Area; a favorite for bird watchers; deer and turkey are common; also beaver, coyote, pileated woodpecker, fox and geese. Spring Mushroom Hike
  • MUSHROOM HUNTING – A favorite area for the morel mushroom hunters in the spring, and also fall mushrooms. Berry picking is allowed in the park. Collecting of plants or ginseng is not allowed.
  • OBSERVATION TOWER – A 72 foot tower gives a spectacular view of the Vermilion River bottoms.
  • FISHING – Includes:
    • Vermilion River
    • Willow Creek Pond ( 7 acres )
    • Edgewood Pond (1 acre )
    • Entrance Pond ( 1 acre )
    • Highland Pond (1 acre )
      All Illinois State fishing regulations apply



  • HIKING – 10 miles of trails, plus the 7.5 mile Lake Mingo Trail
  • PICNICKING – Several large picnic areas that cater to company picnics or large groups; tables, grills, fire rings, horseshoes and playground equipment. Also “click” General Information for rental buildings.
  • FISHING – Includes:
    • Lake Mingo – 170 acres- Lake Fee Required, weekly Tuesday night tournament.Lake Mingo Boating
    • Twin Points – 10 acres
    • Horseshoe Pond – 2 acres; Catch & Release only
    • Nature Center Pond – 1 acre
    • Cedar Hill Pond – 1 acre
    • Middle Fork River
      All Illinois fishing regulations apply. Note: There is no fishing in the Kennekuk Marshes.
  • BOATING/CANOEING – Includes:
    • Middle Fork National Scenic River – Canoe; concrete canoe launch and access lane to accommodate bus with canoe trailer or vehicles with canoes; all vehicles must park in lot provided.
    • Lake Mingo – 9.5 hp limit, sailboats; Lake Fee Required
    • Twin Points – electric motors only
  • HUNTING Must sign up and pay for VCCD hunting permit, VCCD hunting regulations and all Illinois hunting regulations apply
    • Upland Game: pheasant and rabbit
    • Squirrel
    • Dove
    • Waterfowl and Goose – Lake Mingo
    • Turkey – spring season only
    • Deer – archery only; All Illinois hunting regulations and VCCD hunting regulations apply; fee required. There is no trapping allowed due to the recent release of river otters.
  • WILDLIFE VIEWING – The Kennekuk Marshes offer a variety of waterfowl viewing; deer and turkey are abundant; river otters (occasional); also hawks, great blue herons, egrets, coyote, beaver, fox and geese.
  • MUSHROOM HUNTING – Great spring morel mushroom hunting. Berry picking is allowed. Collecting of plants or ginseng is not allowed!
  • CROSS COUNTRY RUNNING/JOGGING/BICYCLING – Many area schools and the Kennekuk Road Runners use the roads and trails for cross country running. Early morning joggers utilize the road system. Roller blading is popular on the asphalt entrance drive; bicycling is also very popular.  No mountain bikes allowed on trails.

Organizers who wish to hold benefit runs must have pre-approval and provide to the office the following information at least one month prior to the event date:
1. Name of the event
2. Who is to benefit or what cause
3. Is there a fee charged? How much?
4. Date requested
5. Duration of the event
6. Designated route requested
7. Certificate of insurance naming the VCCD as an “additionally insured”.



  • BOATING(Lake  Fee Required) Includes:
    • Power boating (unlimited HP)
    • Jet skiing
    • Water skiing/tubing
    • Sail boating
    • Pontoon boating
    • Canoeing (north end of lake)
  • PICNICKING – Songer Pavilion; open shelter; playground equipment; call for reservations, fee- if not already reserved.
  • FISHING – Lake Vermilion (1000 acres) Lake Fee Required
    • Large mouth bass (Open bass tournaments, call for schedule/information)
    • Tiger muskie
    • Channel catfish
    • Blue gill/ red ear
    • Crappie
      All Illinois fishing and boating regulations apply. Concession building and dock system at ramp. Fuel available.
  • WILDLIFE VIEWING – The north end of the lake provides excellent waterfowl viewing.  The recently released river otter has taken up residence in the north end. Sea Gulls are common near the Dallas Bowman Bridge. Bald eagles are occasionally seen over all areas of the lake.
  • HUNTING – Waterfowl hunting is allowed in pre-selected sites and two walk-in areas. Special regulations apply. Fee required.



  • WILDLIFE VIEWING – The 950 foot floating boardwalk is the second longest boardwalk in Illinois.  The walkway has 3 observation areas with benches for tranquil wildlife viewing.  Visitors are able to view numerous species of waterfowl that include Canada gees, mallards, wood ducks, and also king fishers, green herons, American egret, and a variety of songbirds and seasonal migrants.  A large great blue heron rookery is located on the northwest corner of the park.  This is one of the 3 largest rookeries in Vermilion County.  A resident pair of bald eagles can occasionally be seen and have nested near the park for the past few years.  River otters have been reported in the area.  Other mammals include beaver, muskrat, ground hog and rabbit.
  • CANOE ACCESS – Canoe access is not available at the boardwalk site, but is available to the east, near the bridge.
  • HIKING – A half mile self-guided hiking trail is located on the north side of West Newell Road.  The trail follows the boundary of the open field and leads visitors near the wetland ox bow, formed by flood waters and which is now a haven for wildlife.
  • WATERFOWL WALK-IN HUNTING Waterfowl hunting is allowed in two walk-in areas located off of the hiking trail. Signs are posted during hunting season to close the trail to hikers.  Special regulations apply. Fee required.
  • PICNICKING – Picnicking is allowed at the shelter and on the boardwalk overlooks.  Keep in mind that there are NO TRASH containers available and that all garbage must be removed.
  • OBSERVATION TOWER – A 30 foot observation tower was built in the fall of 2003 by the International Timber Framing Guild.  The tower has 2 decks, one at the 8 foot level and on at the 20 foot level.  The upper level is closed to the public and is only used for special events when park personnel are present.  The ADA approved access ramp allows people of all ages and disabilities to ascend to the first level.
    The timber framed tower is constructed of bur and white oak with a cedar shingle roof.  Timber framed construction uses no bolts, nails, or metal connectors.  All joints are tenons and intricate notches joined together with wooden pegs.