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Status: Closed through Tue Apr 29 2014   Season Dates


Dam East Spillway Day Use Area is situated on the southern 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 lake is recognized as one of the nation's top ten inland sailing lakes and hosts several annual races and regattas.

Carlyle 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. There are six established Watchable Wildlife Sites with viewing towers open to the public around the lake.


The area provides fun both on the water and on shore. Boat ramps and courtesy docks are provided, and the vast lake allows for plenty of water sports.

Fishing is a popular pastime, and white bass, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, largemouth bass, freshwater drum, carp, flathead catfish and walleye can be found in abundance.

There is an on-site playground and plenty of 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 walk away.


This facility has one reservable group picnic shelter that can accommodate up to 75 people, as well as 15 non-reservable individual campsites that are open year-round. It is connected to the Dam East Recreation Area. A courtesy dock and two boat ramps are available, including one of the best high water boat ramps on the lake. There is a beach located nearby at the McNair Group Area.

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
  • Biking
  • Boating
  • Drinking Water
  • Fish Cleaning Stations
  • Fishing
  • Flush Toilets
  • Historic Sites
  • Parking Area
  • Picnic Shelters
  • Pit Toilets
  • Playground
  • Self Pay Station
  • Vault Toilets
Know Before You Go
  • Shelter hours are 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily
  • Firewood from areas outside of this facility is not permitted due to invasive insects; click here for more info
  • First-come, first-served sites available
  • Click here for a virtual tour of Carlyle Lake

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
38.59972, -89.34972
38°35'59"N, 89°20'59"W

From I-57, take Old U.S. Route 50 west for 37 miles to the Dam East entrance road and turn north. Turn west at the next intersection and proceed west for 1.2 miles to the Dam East Spillway.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

CARLYLE IL 62231-9703

Phone Number:

Information: (618)594-5253