Pere Marquette State Park

Quick Facts

Pere Marquette State Park

Illinois

(618) 786-3323

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

A nature-lover's paradise, this 8,000-acre park is famous for the exceptional beauty of its fall colors and for its bald eagles during the winter. In addition to enjoying the spectacular view of the Illinois River and its backwaters from several points atop the bluffs, visitors can take advantage of a variety of year-round recreational opportunities, including horseback riding, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and boating.

Pere Marquette's Visitor Center, opened in October 1997, welcomes you with a three-dimensional map of the park and wealth of other displays and exhibits concerning the Illinois River, wildlife habitat, local history, and geology.

The history of Pere Marquette State Park centers around that of the Illinois River. The forces that formed the river can be traced to ancient glaciers that pushed their way down over most of Illinois, but stopped just short of the park land. In the path of the glaciers and their meltwaters, a rich network of streams and rivers were formed, and tons of soil and bedrock were ground to dust which rose and blew up against the hillsides. These ancient layers of wind-blown soil, called Loess (pronounced "less") can be seen along the roads and trails of Pere Marquette.

There is much to enjoy in the surrounding area, including sensational scenery, award-winning wineries, golf courses, restaurants, water activities, sporting events, antique shopping, historical museums, and more. The park is located along one of the most beautiful stretches of the Great River Road, a section that has been designated as the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway.

Map of Pere Marquette (IL)

Latitude, Longitude: 38.977170, -90.521868

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Activities

  • Boating

    Launching ramps and ample parking provide access to the river, with courtesy docks available when weather conditions and river levels permit. Future plans include a full-service marina.

  • Bird Watching

    About 230 species of birds have been identified within, at the boundaries of, or flying over Pere Marquette State Park. A checklist has been prepared by local birders, in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources, as is available at the Visitor Center. Popular locations for bird watching are Stump Lake, in the river bottoms, and McAdams Peak and other overlooks along the scenic drive through the park.

  • Bicycling

    The Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail runs from Pere Marquette State Park to the City of Alton, approximately 20 miles. The entire trail is paved.

  • Camping

    If you prefer a more rustic experience, Pere Marquette offers a wide range of camping opportunities. The Class A campground has 80 sites, two of which are handicap accessible. Sites have electrical hookups only, with a sanitary dump station, drinking water, and a shower building available on the grounds. Sites 2-30 are available for reservation from May through October. The nearby Class B tent camping area also has access to the shower building. Within the Class A campground, the park offers two Rent-A-Camp cabins Rent-A-Camp cabin. Popular among scout groups is the Youth Tent Camp Area, also known as Duncan Hill. This separate campground offers a picnic shelter and tables, pit-type toilets, and drinking water. For large organized groups, Pere Marquette operates three Organized Group Camps. Camp Potawatomi accommodates 68 campers; Camp Piasa and Camp Ouatoga will each accommodate 145. All three camps feature fully-equipped kitchens and dining rooms, lighted sleeping cabins with cots and mattresses, and restroom facilities with warm showers and flush toilets. Camps Piasa and Ouatoga also feature swimming pools.

  • Fishing

    A wide variety of fish such as bluegill, carp, catfish, crappie, drum, largemouth bass, and white bass, attract anglers to the Illinois and Mississippi River.

  • Hiking

    Approximately 12 miles of marked trails provide scenic hiking to beginners and experienced hikers alike. Lush forests, towering bluffs, and an abundance of wildlife provide the perfect backdrop for your outing. Trail maps are available at the Visitor Center.

  • Historic Sites

    A full-time site interpreter and seasonal interpreters are available to provide educational programs to groups of all ages. Hikes, recreational activities, and other interpretive events are scheduled on a regular basis, particularly in the fall. Eagle tours are offered from late December to late February. For more information, contact the Visitor Center.

  • Horseback Riding

    The park offers about 20 miles of equestrian trails with a parking area for your trailers on Graham Hollow Road. The trails to the west of Graham Hollow are open year-round. The trails east of Graham Hollow will be closed during certain seasons of the year. These areas will be posted when closed. Pere Marquette Riding stables is open for trail rides every day except Tuesday, weather permitting, from May through October.

  • Hunting

    The 2,000 acre public hunting area located off Graham Hollow Road has good standsof mature oak and hickory timber, which provide excellent habitat for squirrel, deer, and turkey. These game species may be hunted in this area in accordance with statewide seasons and regulations, with the exception of squirrel season, which begins the day after Labor Day in the Park. Another 1,147 acres is available for public hunting at Copperhead Hollow Wildlife Area, located on Nutwood Road, approximately 5 miles north of the park. The topography of this area varies from steep hills to bottomland floodplain (Otter Creek). The bottomland areas are mostly farm fields. The hills consist of mostly oak/hickory woodlands with some areas becoming dominated by maple. Deer, turkey, squirrel, raccoon, coyote and waterfowl may be hunted in this area according to statewide regulations. All hunters using the Public Hunting Areas at Graham Hollow Road or Cooperhead Hollow must obtain a free permit at the Visitor Center.

    Archery Deer Hunting is offered on an additional 3,000 acres in the three Organized Group Camp areas by special permit. Three one-week seasons are offered, beginning on the Monday after the last Sunday in October (when the group camps close for the season). By random drawing, 5 hunters are selected for each season in each area. The drawing for this hunt is held the first working day in April each year. Applications will be available by March 1st. Contact the Visitor Center for applications and information.

    Spring Turkey Hunting is also available in the Organized Group Camp areas by special permit. To be considered for this hunt, hunters must use the statewide Firearm Turkey Permit application, and apply for Pere Marquette Group Camp Area.

  • Picnicking

    Plenty of picnic areas are available throughout the park, with tables, grills and trash containers provided. Three picnic shelters are available, and may be reserved. A fee is required to reserve shelters. Reservations can be made at www.reserveamerica.com

  • RVing

    Please call the primary number for more information.

  • Tennis

    Please call the primary number for more information.

  • Water Sports

    Please call the primary number for more information.

Park Partners

Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center

Built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, but has been expanded and updated in recent years. Today, native stone and rustic timbers of the original Lodge blend with the new to provide first class accommodations in an historical setting. The mammoth stone fireplace in the lobby soars to a roof height of 50 feet, and is said to weigh 700 tons. There are 50 spacious guest rooms and 22 stone guest cabin rooms. Among the facilities available are a cocktail lounge, gift shop, indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, saunas, game room and tennis court. Pere Marquette Lodge provides elegant dining, with a Sunday brunch that draws people from Missouri as well as Illinois. The dining room seats 150 people and offers a choice of family style dining or selections from the menu. The 2,900 square-foot conference center has banquet facilities to accommodate 300, and a comprehensive selection of audio/visual equipment. The center breaks into four separate meeting rooms.

Address- Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center, Route 100, PO Box 429, Grafton, IL 62037

(618) 786-2331

Directions

Driving

FROM St. Louis (Forest Park)Take I-64 West to I-170. Then take I-170 North to I-270. Take I-270 East to MO-367. Take MO-367. North to IL-100 in Alton. Take IL-100 North to Pere Marquette.

FROM St. Louis County (Kirkwood). Take I-270 North and then East to MO-367. Take MO-367 North to IL-100 in Alton. Take IL-100 North to Pere Marquette.

FROM Chicago, Peoria, Springfield and points north. Take I-55 South toward St. Louis. Take Route 140 West to IL-3. Take IL-3 to Clifton Terrace Road. Take Clifton Terrace Road South to IL-100. Take IL-100 North to Pere Marquette State Park.

FROM Effingham, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and points east. Take I-70 West toward St. Louis. Take IL-143 West to IL-100 in Alton. Take IL-100 North to Pere Marquette State Park.

FROM Cairo, Memphis and points south. Take I-55 North to I-255 near St. Louis. Take I-255 North to I-270. Take I-270 West to IL-111. Take IL-111 North to IL-143. Take IL-143 West to IL-100 in Alton. Take IL-100 North to Pere Marquette State Park.

FROM Columbia, Springfield, Kansas City and points west. Take I-70 or I-64 or I-44 East toward St. Louis to I-270. Take I-270 East to MO-367. Take MO-367 North to IL-100 in Alton. Take IL-100 North to Pere Marquette State Park.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(618) 786-3323

Links