Illinois
66
www.stateparks.com
'Cardinal' © stateparks.com
Cardinal
upload your photos

USA Parks
Illinois
Western Region
Big River State Forest
BIG RIVER STATE FOREST
BIG RIVER STATE FOREST
RR 1, Box 118
Keithsburg, Illinois   61442

Phone: 309-374-2496
Reservations: 309-374-2496
Email:
Big River State Forest in western Illinois' Henderson County is 8 miles north of Oquawka on the Oquawka-Keithsburg blacktop. The forest is managed primarily to demonstrate sound forestry practices with demonstrations and talks on these practices available to interested groups.
Nature of the Area
Big River State Forest is a remnant of a vast prairie woodland border area that once covered much of Illinois. Among its vegetation are two endangered plants - penstemon, commonly known as bearded tongue, and Patterson's bindweed, which N.H. Patterson documented in the forest in 1873 for the first time anywhere.

Some of the common plants found in the prairie are big and little bluestem, Indian grass, June grass, grama grass, flower-of-an-hour, cottonweed, prairie coneflower, pale prairie coneflower, prairie bush clover, purple prairie clover and blazing star. Also found are western sunflower, kittentail, lead plant, prickly pear cactus, flowering spurge, aromatic sumac, false dragonhead, Sullivan's milkweed, horsemint, goat's-rue and hoary puccoon.
History of the Area
The 200-acre Oquawka Refuge, acquired by the state in 1925, contains the area's oldest pine plantation. Established in 1928 and known as the Milroy Plantation, the 17-acre area contains red, white and jack pines that tower more than 50 feet high. Subsequent land purchases, beginning in 1941 and 1942, and a lease from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, have brought the forest to 2,900 acres.
Camping
Tent and trailer sites are available at the Riverview camping area and in the northwest corner of the forest. All campers must obtain a permit from the park office. Group camping is allowed, but groups of 25 or more must receive advance permission from the site manager.


Get directions
to this park:

by Town and state
OR
by zip code

Nearby Parks


Picnicking
There are several picnic areas along Campbell Slough and Putney's Landing, with shelter houses, tables, camp stoves and drinking water available.
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
October 4 Our number one place to ride horses by Lee and Cheryl Nelson
We thoroughly enjoy this park. We ride horses at a lot of places and this is always the one that we come to the most. The trails are always well maintained and everyone is very helpful and friendly. Thank you for making our trailriding so pleasant.
September 20 our favorite place to ride by penjac
we love the horse trails with first discovering this park 30 years ago. the scent of the pines while riding or camping is just wonderful. our granddaughter now rides with me so 3 generations of our family have enjoyed the trails. we hope/pray this park and the trails will never be closed.
September 10 Great biking area - with no people!!!!!! by Lon
Excellent day use area for hiking, picnics and biking.


Share Your
Big River State Forest
Photos
(click here)
Weather Forecast, (61469)

Directions
For visitors coming from the south, east and west, BIG RIVER can be reached from Highway 164. The forest is well signed on Highway 164. Go north on the Oquawka-Keithsburg blacktop road for 9 miles. The office is located on the right.For visitors coming from the north, take Highway 17 to Keithsburg. The forest is well signed on Highway 17. Turn left at Main Street and go to the next 4-way stop. Turn right (going south) and go 4 miles on the Oquawka-Keithsburg blacktop. The office is located on the left side of the road.

For visitors coming from the south, west, and east, DELABAR PARK can be reached from Highway 164. The park is well signed on Highway 164. Go north 2 miles on the Oquawka-Keithsburg blacktop road. The park entrance is located on the left.If coming from the north, take Highway 17 south to Keithsburg. Turn left at Main Street going east to the first 4-way stop. Turn right (going south) and go 10 miles. The park entrance is located on the right.

For visitors coming from the south, east, and the west, HENDERSON COUNTY CONSERVATION AREA can be reached from Highway 34. The site is well signed on Highway 34. Turn 1 mile west of junction 164 and 34(north) on a gravel road and go 1 mile. The entrance is on the left side.For visitors coming from the north, take Highway 164 south to Gladstone. Continue south on 164 to junction 164 and 34. Turn right and go west 1 mile. Then turn right (north) on gravel road and go 1 mile and the park entrance is on the left.

USA Parks
Illinois
Western Region
Big River State Forest
© 2014 StateParks.com