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Status: Closed through Tue Apr 29 2014   Season Dates


Boulder Day Use Area is situated on the eastern shore of Carlyle Lake, a prime getaway for city-dwellers and families. Located 50 miles east of St. Louis, the area offers the peaceful retreat of a small town combined with the grandeur of Illinois' largest man-made lake.

Natural Features:

Created in 1967, the 26,000-acre Carlyle Lake is recognized as one of the nation's top ten inland sailing lakes and hosts several races and regattas.

The lake is home to an array of wildlife that can be seen throughout the year. Its waters and shores are a resting spot for migratory waterfowl and other birds, and there are six established Watchable Wildlife Sites with viewing towers open to the public around the lake.


Boulder Day Use Area provides recreation both on the water and on shore. A boat ramp and courtesy dock are provided, and the vast lake allows for plenty of water sports.

Fishing is a popular pastime, and the lake offers year-round varieties of fish such as white bass, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, largemouth bass, freshwater drum, carp, flathead catfish and walleye.

There is an on-site playground and plenty of wide open space for children to play in, as well as an amphitheater for educational programs. A multi-use biking and walking trail is located a short drive away at the main dam.


The large group picnic shelter can accommodate up to 75 people. The site provides modern amenities, as well as fuel and boat storage. It is adjacent to the Boulder Recreation Area, which offers reservable campsites.

Nearby Attractions:

Carlyle Lake Visitor Center, located in the Dam West Recreation Area, has information, a gift shop and nature exhibits, including a 215-gallon aquarium with native fish and a display featuring a live massasauga rattlesnake.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Amphitheater
  • Biking
  • Birding
  • Boat Ramp
  • Boating
  • Dock
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Entrance Station
  • Fish Cleaning Stations
  • Fishing
  • Flush Toilets
  • Grills
  • Jet Skiing
  • Lake Access
  • Marina
  • Picnic Shelters
  • Pit Toilets
  • Playground
  • Showers
  • Tent Pads
  • Trash Collection
  • Vault Toilets
  • Water Skiing
Within 10 Miles
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
Know Before You Go
  • Firewood from areas outside of this facility is not permitted; click here for more info
  • Day-use only; shelter hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Click here for a virtual tour of Carlyle Lake
  • $3 day-use fee at boat ramps

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
38.69611, -89.23222
38°41'46"N, 89°13'56"W

From I-57, take Old U.S. Highway 50 west. Continue for 19 miles through Salem, Odin and Sandoval. Turn north on Boulder Road and follow 7 miles to the day use and recreation area.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:


Phone Number:

Information: (618)594-5253