For wildflowers, beautiful foliage and soothing breezes in the spring...picnicking, camping, hiking, boating and fishing in the summer...appreciating the brilliant hues of autumn's colorful plumage...or ice skating and ice fishing in the brisk, blue winter...Red Hills State Park in Lawrence County welcomes visitors year round.
In southeastern Illinois midway between Olney and Lawrenceville on U.S. 50, Red Hills is a carefully preserved and maintained 967 acres of high wooded hills, deep ravines, captivating meadows and year-round springs. It's the perfect setting for natural relaxation and outdoor activities. The sparkling 40-acre lake is ideal for fishing and boating.
Pause to enjoy the spectacular scenic view from atop Red Hills--the highest point of land between St. Louis and Cincinnati.
A satellite area of the park, the 627-acre Chauncey Marsh Nature Preserve contains the best remaining example of what is called a Wabash Border Marsh Ecosystem, with marshes, dry and wet prairie, lush bottomland forest and thriving riverine communities. During late July and early August beautiful pink and white hibiscus and hairy rose mallow are in bloom.
For family outings, what better way to spend a day than to have a picnic at Red Hills’ pleasant, shaded picnic areas throughout the park, with tables and grills. There are three picnic shelters for large gatherings, two reservable and one first-come, first-served, and six playgrounds. All areas are convenient to parking lots. Facilities are handicapped accessible.
For longer stays, there are more than 100 Class A campsites with vehicular access that provide electricity, a sanitary dump station, water and access to a modern handicapped-accessible building with showers and flush toilets. Some sites are pull-through with 50 amp service.
Eight miles of refreshing, scenic trails of moderate difficulty wind through the park, where the vibrant colors of redheaded woodpeckers, blue jays and goldfinches can be seen.
For the intermediate hiker, Indian Treaty, Robin, Valley Springs and Tulip trail loops overlap each other on the hilly north side of U.S. Rt. 50 for about 3 miles. There also is a 5-mile trail for horseback riding and bicycling when soil conditions permit.
Trails can be used by both equestrians and bicyclists. Check with park staff for open dates. A Class C equestrian campground is available. A local Saddle Club hosts horse shows once a month from April - October at the Red Hills Arena.
Fishing and Boating
A paved road circles the lake, and bank fishing is popular for largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill. A boat launch is available; however, gas motors are not allowed.
In the winter months, when the ice is thick enough, you can go ice fishing and enjoy ice skating on the lake. Sledding opportunities also exist.
Squirrel, dove, woodcock, quail and rabbit are plentiful in season. Archery deer hunting also is permitted. All hunters must check in and out at the check station. Consult the park staff for specific information about shooting times and opening dates.
The Trace Inn Restaurant is open year-round an offers a spectacular four-season overlook of Red Hills Lake and the surrounding hardwood forest. Fine dining is enhanced by the rustic atmosphere of a rural decor, antiques and creative seasonal decorations.