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Sand Ridge State Forest, IL

Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
Max reservation window: Tue Oct 14 2014   Later Dates


For those who think central Illinois is one big corn field, Sand Ridge State Forest will come as a very pleasant surprise. The forest is an island in a sea of agriculture. Just minutes southwest of Peoria, this 7,500 acre, largest of Illinois' state forests, boast sweeping expanses of native oak-hickory timber, extensive plantations of pine, sprawling open fields, grasslands, and completely unique sand prairies. For a refreshing, invigorating taste of unspoiled nature and an opportunity to experience a genuinely distinctive and unexpected environment, Sand Ridge State Forest is ideal. The area is the result of a prehistoric dry period when more desert-like conditions existed. Today it remains one of the very few places in Illinois that supports an intriguing variety of plants and animals more associated with the southwest than the midwest. Those include badger, silvery bladderpod, pocket gopher and prickly pear cactus to name a few. The raw, undeveloped expanses of hardwood and pine blanketing the panoramic vistas contain miles of outstanding hiking, backpacking, snowmobiling, and horseback riding opportunities. Hunting of deer, turkey, pheasant, quail, dove, and squirrel is permitted. There is a hand trap shooting facility and an archery range. For the dedicated outdoors person this is truly an island of great opportunity to see how diverse Illinois is. For the day visitor, the forest offers picnic facilities and the chance for a fascinating experience with nature at the Henry Allen Gleason Nature Preserve. You can enjoy the pristine sand prairie in a protected area closed to vehicles and domestic animals. A bird watchers paradise, Sand Ridge State Forest is an important nesting area for a great variety of neo-tropical migratory birds such as ovenbird, indigo bunting, veery, and scarlet tanager. For further information please visit the internet site . The web page has many answers to questions you might have. Another source would be to give us a call at #309.597.2212.

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • Archery
  • Bicycling
  • Bird Watching
  • Boating, Canoeing
  • Camping, Equestrian
  • Camping, Equestrian Group
  • Camping, Primitive
  • Dump Station, Camper
  • Fire Rings
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Fish Hatchery
  • Grills
  • Handicap Sites
  • Hiking - Moderate
  • Hiking Trail
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Interpretive Waysides
  • Jogging/Running
  • Kiosk
  • Parking
  • Picnic Area
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Picnic Tables
  • Picnicking
  • Restrooms
  • Sightseeing
  • Sunbathing
  • Trails, Easy Hiking/Walking
  • Trails, Equestrian
  • Trails, Moderate Hiking
  • Walking
  • Water, Drinking
  • Wildflower Viewing
  • Wildlife Viewing
Within 10 Miles
  • Antiquing
  • Ball Field
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Church
  • Dining
  • Emergency Services
  • Fishing
  • Fishing, Park Lake
  • Grocery Store
  • Laundry
  • Park Lake
  • Restaurant
  • Retail, Bait & Tackle
  • Shopping
  • Swimming - Pool
  • Tennis
  • Town
  • Volleyball
  • Water Access, Park Lake
  • Winery Tours
Greater Than 10 Miles
  • Airport
  • Fishing, River/Stream
  • Golfing
  • Hospital
  • Lighthouse
  • Lodging, Cabins
  • Medical Clinic
  • Motel
  • Powerboating
  • Water Skiing
Alerts and Important Information
  • Shelter Reservations are non-refundable unless the area is closed by the Department, in this circumstance the Site Manager will contact you prior to your reservation date to cancel and issue your refund.
  • A responsible adult (18 years of age or older) from the camping party must register for the party and thereby acknowledge compliance with the rules and regulations of the park for the party.

  • Quite hours are from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM.
    Check out time is 3:00 PM each day.
    Keep all pets leashed and attended.
    Back Packers must obtain a permit before going out to the back country sites.
    Office hours are from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM or a time will be posted on the door for our return.
    No Alcohol is allowed for either consumption or possession.
  • For specific park information or questions regarding your reservation, please call the Park Office at 309-597-2212
  • Getting There:

    GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
    40.39972, -89.88306
    40°23'59"N, 89°52'59"W

    From the west, east, or south: Follow Il. route 136 to Mason County Road 2800E and turn north. Continue in a straight line for about 6 miles, through the village of Forest City. This road will turn to the west and become Mason County Road 2300N which will lead you directly into the forest. From the north, follow Il. route 29 south out of Pekin to the Manito Road, turn west and go to Manito, about 20 miles. In Manito, watch for the sign at Mason County Road 2500N then again turn west (right). In about 6 miles you will have entered the forest. From either entrance, follow our clearly marked signs to the facility or destination of your choice

    Contact Information:

    Mailing Address:

    Sand Ridge State Forest
    P.O. Box 111, 25799E Cty. Rd. 2300N
    Forest City IL 61532-0111

    Phone Number:

    Project Office:(309)597-2212