Carlyle Lake


Recreation - Activities and Facilities


Reservations for campsites, group areas, and picnic shelters can be made through Recreation One Stop by calling toll free at (877) 444-6777 or online at


Five beaches are waiting for you and your family to enjoy at Carlyle Lake. The beaches are located in the Keyesport, Harbor Light Bay, Dam West, McNair, and Coles Creek Recreation Areas. All of the beaches are designated swimming areas and a great place for the whole family to spend time swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.


Opportunities and Facilities

For the boating enthusiast, Carlyle Lake is a great place to cruise for pleasure, water ski, or spend the day fishing. The wide-open waters make Carlyle Lake a sailor's paradise. This 15 by 3 1/2 mile body of water is one of the top inland sailing lakes in the nation. All major developed recreation areas have boat ramps with courtesy docks. Small boat access ramps can be found in hunting/fishing parking lots scattered around the lake. Call or Check out the websites below for more information on boat rentals or sailing events.

Boulder Marina(618) 226-3223 
Carlyle Sailing Association Marina(618) 594-3622
Trade Winds Marina(618) 749-5649
West Access Marina(618) 594-2461
Carlyle Lake Boats & Marinas

Carlyle Lake Facilities
Boat Ramps
Courtesy Dock
Fish Cleaning Station
Highwater Ramp
Dam West*
Coles Creek*
Horseshoe Island
Dam East*
General Dean
Wood Duck
North Fork

*Day use fees are charged at specific Corps of Engineers boat ramps. Visitors may pay $5.00 per launch at the boat ramp, or purchase an annual pass for a fee of $40.00. Annual Passes are available at the Carlyle Lake Visitor Center, the Carlyle Lake Project Office, and at the campground fee booths. Visitors with a Golden Age, Golden Access, or America the Beautiful Pass will receive a 50% discount on all day use fees.

 Picnic Shelters

Eight picnic shelters are located around Carlyle Lake to provide you with the perfect setting for the next reunion, picnic, or party. Reservations for picnic shelters can be made through R1S by calling toll free at (877) 444-6777 or online at Shelters are reservable for a fee of $30/day May 1-September 30. If a shelter has not been reserved, it is available on a first come, first serve basis.

Locations: Keyesport, Dam West, West Spillway, East Spillway, Dam East Boat Ramp, Coles Creek, and Boulder

 Hiking Trails

At Carlyle Lake there are several hiking trails maintained: Chipmunk Trail located in McNair Recreation Area, Little Prairie Nature Trial located in the Dam West Spillway, and Willow Pond, which is wheelchair accessible, located on the south side of the Visitor Center.

There are also more than 9 miles of trails available to hikers at Eldon Hazlet State Park. The 3-mile Cherokee Trail has three separate loops that pass through a mature oak-hickory forest over gently rolling terrain, offering great views of the lake. The Pawnee Trail is a 1-mile loop trail running along the highest point on Carlyle Lake. Both the Cherokee and Pawnee trails lead to Burnside Cemetery, a restored cemetery with tombstones dating to the 1830s.

The Kaskaskian Trail is a 2 1/2-mile loop trail that begins at the park office and passes by the youth campground, the Pawnee Trail, various day-use areas and the Eagle trail, a 3/4-mile loop near the north end of Illini Campground. A 1/4 -mile accessible interpretive trail is located within the 3-acre prairie restoration directly across from the park office. The 1-mile Illini Trail is located across from the Campground Store and loops around the Illini Fishing Pond. All trails are closed Wednesday through Sunday during pheasant season.


For information on Lodging at Carlyle Lake visit the City of Carlyle website at

 Visitor Center

To help you plan your stay at Carlyle Lake stop by the Carlyle Lake Visitor Center, located in the Dam West Recreation Area. Pick up literature, shop at the gift shop, or view exhibits; including a 215 gallon aquarium with native fish, and a snake exhibit. Then relax and sit back and watch a movie on the construction of the lake and the recreational opportunities available to you during your stay.

Visitor Center Schedule
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

April 2 – May 22 Saturday and Sunday
May 23 – Sept 9 Daily
Sept 10 – Sept 25 Saturday and Sunday

*Visitor center closed October – March

Visit our Geocaching page for rules and locations!

Recreation Area Facility Chart

Archery Range
Boat Ramp
Boat Rental
Camping - Full Hookup
Camping - Trailer
Camping - Tent
Camping - Group
Court - Basketball
Court - Tennis
Courtesy Dock
Day Use Fee Area
Drinking Water
Dump Station
Electric Hookup
Fish Cleaning Station
Fuel - Marine
Golf Course
Laundry Facility
Picnic Shelters
Picnic Tables
Sanitary Pump - Marine
Shower House
Toilet - Flush
Toilet - Vault
Trail - Hiking
Visitor Center
Boulder - COE                      
Boulder Marina - C                        
Coles Creek - COE                      
Dam East - COE                          
Dam West - COE    
Eldon Hazlet - IDNR              
Keyesport - COE                          
McNair Campground - COE                          
Sailing Association - C                
Spillway East - COE                          
Spillway West - COE      
West Access Marina - C      
Trade Winds Marina - C                            
Wildlife Mgmnt Area - IDNR                                                            

⬛ Service/Facility Available Nearby ♿ Wheelchair Accessible ⚫ Service/Supply Within 2 Miles of Area Entrance