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Illinois State Parks

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USA Parks
Central Region
Hidden Springs State Forest
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Hidden Springs State Forest © Tammy
Hidden Springs State Forest © Tammy
Beautiful well maintained trail
Hidden Springs State Forest © james d keigley
Hidden Springs State Forest © james d keigley
Hidden Springs State Forest © james d keigley
Hidden Springs State Forest © james d keigley
Hidden Springs State Forest © james d keigley
Hidden Springs State Forest © james d keigley
Hidden Springs State Forest © james d keigley
Hidden Springs State Forest © james d keigley
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R.R. 1, Box 200
Strasburg, Illinois   62465

Phone: 217-644-3091
Reservations: 217-644-3091
Email: park email button icon
Hidden Springs State Forest (formerly known as Shelby State Forest) consists of approximately 1,200 acres of land near Clarksburg, 10 miles southeast of Shelbyville.
Nature of the Area

The forest ownership consists of three separate tracts covering portions of eight sections of land. The terrain varies from flat bottomland areas along Richland Creek (which flows diagonally from northeast to southwest the entire length of the forest) to relatively steep hillsides. Generally the topography is gently rolling and broken by small draws and streams.

Trees Native trees in the forest include white, red, black, bur, post, pin, shingle and chinquapin oaks; ash; hickory; sugar maple; sycamore; silver maple; black walnut; and cottonwood. Plantations of native and introduced species include white, red and scotch pine; red cedar; sweet gum, butterjaps; tulip poplar; black locust; and cottonwoods. In addition, many other shrubs and minor individual species of trees are located throughout the forest.

Timber Management

A white pine and a scotch pine seed orchard are managed for the production of superior seed for use at the state tree nurseries. White pine coves are collected in August before the cones open and the seeds are allowed to fall out. Volunteer groups help collect scotch pine cones during the fall. Many different types of seeds and nuts are collected throughout the forest and sent to the state nurseries for processing and planting.

Thinning of some of the many pine plantations has begun, with the thinned areas being used for wildlife food and cover plantings. Eliminated trees are "chipped" and the shredded wood is spread on the forest trails. A demonstration pine management area shows the desired thinning and pruning process to be carried out in the pine plantations.

Management aims also include the growing of hardwoods, such as oak and blackwalnut. A forest improvement demonstration area shows the types of trees which would be removed in properly managed woodlands. Several areas are being managed for black walnut production using corrective pruning and vegetation control. Six experimental burn plots are maintained to show the effects of woods fire.

Some of the forest property, when first acquired, showed the detrimental effects of erosion. Immediate steps were initiated to reduce the ravages to the topsoil. Reforestation, terracing, grass seeding, sodding and toe wall construction are practices in use at Hidden Springs to stabilize the soil. Close cooperation with the Soil Conservation Service?s technical personnel has been beneficial.
History of the Area
The name Hidden Springs was selected to designate this particular state forest because of the seven known springs on the property which were used for drinking water by the early settlers. Over the years these springs have been covered over by natural siltation and vegetation (hence the name "Hidden Springs"). Rocky Spring and Quicksand Spring have access trails.

The entire forest area was originally planned as a state lake. These plans were altered when the construction of Shelbyville Reservoir began. The property was then assigned to the Division of Forestry in 1960 to be managed as a state forest. Following reorganization of the department in 1975 the property was reassigned to the Division of Land and Historic Sites. The area continues to be managed under the concept of multiple-use --- sound timber and resource management complimented by compatible recreational opportunities.
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
 Bike Trailsyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
 Water/Electric Sitesyes
Reservations are accepted. Possum Creek, a Class "C" campground, includes drinking water, privie, sanitary disposal station, pedestal stoves, fire blocks and a fire ring. Campers may set up camp on the site of their choice. Forest staff issue permits on routine rounds. Shady Grove Campground accommodates groups by reservation only. Ground fires in both areas are allowed only in the fire rings provided.
Nearby Vacation Rentals
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Hidden Springs State Forest is located near Effingham

Rolling Meadows picnic area offers a large shelter, drinking water, playground equipment, privies, tables, stoves and a fire ring. Red Bud Lane, on the south end of this area, provides three small secluded sites. A small picnic area at the Big Tree has tables and stoves.
Possum Hollow Nature Trail, 3/4 mile in length, provides access to Park Pond and the pine seed orchard. Trail guides, available at the headquarters, campground, and picnic area, guide the visitor to the 35 interpretive stations. The Big Tree Trail, one mile in length, features a sycamore 78 inches in diameter, one of the largest to be found in Illinois. Rocky Spring Trail, three miles in length, includes Rocky Spring, a forest improvement area, walnut production areas and varied land and vegetation types. Seventeen miles of fire lanes also provide access to remote areas of the forest. Your cooperation in keeping both motorcycles and horses off foot trails and fire lanes is appreciated.

A pleasurable and peaceful forest environment awaits the visitor. A bird check list is available at the headquarters to those who come to enjoy the many songbirds on the area. Flowers and mushrooms grow prolifically throughout the forest.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
June 27 nice 1 hour walk in the forest
park review stars; one to five We visited in late June 2010 after big rain. Big Tree trail was slightly muddy, but ok. I enjoyed seeing the many species of trees labelled. Nice sunday morning walk.
March 29 Great facility! by Jeff Fouste:[email protected]
park review stars; one to five A beautiful, quiet area unmatched for quiet contemplation. Excellent wildlife viewing area: eagles, heron, bobcats, deer, and much more. GREAT deer hunting in area! I am a landowner bordering the park!
May 30 Childhood Memories by Chris Milligan
park review stars; one to five Ive been coming here since i was 5. My Dad was the first one to bring me and i just love to visit when i can.
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Area Campgrounds
Camp Lakewood Campground
1217 W Rickelman Avenue
Effingham, IL
Robin Hood Woods Campground
RR 4 Box 16A
Shelbyville, IL


Direction to Hidden Springs State Forest. From Interstate 57 .Get off of I57 at Mattoon Exit Go west on Route 16 thru Mattoon, continue on Route 16 west thru the town of Gays , through the next town of Windsor. Two miles west of Windsor Route 16 Junctions with 32 South. Turn left on 32 . Go 4 miles through the town of Strasburg Proceed 2 miles , turn right off of Route 32 Brown Information signs for Hidden Springs. 4 miles on this road you will be at drive to the office of Hidden Springs State Forest.

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Illinois State Parks