Coles Creek Day Use Area is situated on the eastern shore of Carlyle Lake, a prime getaway for city-dwellers and families. Located 50 miles east of St. Louis and a few miles from the town of Carlyle, 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.

Recreation:

The campground 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 drive away at the dam.

Facilities:

Coles Creek Campground offers 119 campsites and two large group campsites, all with electric hookups. All sites are either directly on the shoreline or a short walk to the lake. Modern amenities like showers, laundry facilities and flush toilets are provided. The campground is adjacent to Coles Creek Day Use Area and Lotus Group Area, which feature reservable picnic shelters.

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
  • Boat Ramp
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Flush Toilets
  • Laundry facilities
  • Pit Toilets
  • Playground
  • Showers
  • Swimming