Update: May 1st, the following areas of the park are OPEN:
- Allen Branch and Apache Boat Ramps are open for boating and fishermen; limit of two people per boat regardless of the relationship of the people in the boat.
- 9.5 miles of hiking trails are open.
- Mushroom hunting is permitted from sun-up to sundown.
- Chippewa and Allen Branch Fishing Piers, in addition to bank fishing locations throughout the park, are open.
- Wildlife observation will be permitted throughout the park.
- Some vault toilets throughout the park are open; flush toilets and handwashing facilities are open in the Olympic Shelter.
The following areas of the park are CLOSED:
- Park office is closed to the public, but office personnel are available to answer informational phone calls.
- All campgrounds and cabins are closed to camping but are open for walking or biking.
- Concession operations are closed.
It seems appropriate for one of the largest campgrounds in the Illinois state park system to be located on the largest manmade lake in Illinois. Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is a 3,000-acre site on the western shore of Carlyle Lake, a Kaskaskia River impoundment. The site is located 3 miles north of Carlyle and 2 miles east of Illinois Route 127 in Clinton County.
Eldon Hazlet SRA attracts more than 800,000 visitors annually to camp, boat, fish, hunt, picnic, bird watch and to hike more than 9 miles of trails. Also popular are the sailboat regattas, held almost every summer weekend.
The site is leased by the IDNR from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which built the 26,000-acre lake. The state recreation area is named for Carlyle attorney Eldon Hazlet, the first president of the Kaskaskia Valley Association, which organized and promoted construction of two of Illinois' three largest reservoir/recreational complexes - Carlyle Lake and Lake Shelbyville - plus other improvements on the Kaskaskia River.
Eldon Hazlet SRA is probably best known for its camping facilities. The Illini Campground has 328 Class A campsites with 30 and 50 amp electrical hook-ups, 36 Class C campsites for walk-in tent camping and two rustic rent-a-cabins (Campground Map).
A campground store and public swimming pool are located at the campground. Camping reservations can be made online at www.reserveamerica.com.
Hazlet Cottages - 20 cottages overlooking the lake - are available for rent offering spectacular views of the lake. Each cottage has a kitchenette, bar, living area, bedroom, loft and deck, with amenities including cable TV, linens and cookware. For reservations, call 618-594-8702 or visit the Hazlet Cottages website.