You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge

Illinois State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Horseshoe Lake State Fish Wildlife Area
Cardinal ©
Afternoon Hike ©
Availability Search
P.O. Box 85
Miller City, Illinois   62962

Phone: 618-776-5689
Email: park email button icon
As you explore the Horseshoe Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area, you may be reminded of the Deep South. The charm of bald cypress, tupelo gum, swamp cottonwood trees and wild lotus makes the recreational activities at the site even more enjoyable.

Located in Alexander County just east of Illinois Route 3 seven miles north of Cairo, the 10,200 acre area includes a 2,400 acre shallow lake. In addition to taking in the beauty of the natural features of the area, visitors enjoy picnicking, camping, boating, fishing and hunting.

The first 49 acres of the park were purchased by the Department of Conservation in 1927 for development as a Canada Goose sanctuary. Additional tracts of land, including Horseshoe Island, continued to be purchased to create the State Fish & Wildlife Area that greets visitors today.

Canada geese began wintering at the site in 1928. The original 1,000 birds increased to a population of more than 40,000 by 1944. Today, up to 150,000 Canada geese winter at the site, thanks to improved refuge management and harvest controls.
Nature of the Area
Horseshoe Lake

With its large stands of beautiful trees around its 20 mile shoreline, Horseshoe Lake is a beautiful body of water. Since 1930, when a concrete, fixed spillway was constructed, the lake has maintained a constant four-foot depth.Refuge Area

Horseshoe Island, Horseshoe Lake and all areas not designated for public hunting are used to maintain and support the Canada goose population. A variety of food requirements are met by producing green pasture and grain crops in the refuge. Research programs, including banding, provide important information about the geese. Over 50,000 birds have been trapped, banded and releasedthrough the years at Horseshoe Lake.Natural Features

Bald cypress, tupelo gum and swamp cottonwood trees surround Horseshoe Lake and create spectacular scenery. Flora and fauna normally found in swampland much further south thrive in this setting. Visitors during fall and winter see large populations of waterfowl and bald eagles. Spring and summer guests will enjoy the vibrant colors of the foliage. Some of the most beautiful blooms are found on red buckeye shrubs in April and wild lotus in June.

Native southern hardwood forests are abundant, and two large, undisturbed tracts have been dedicated as Illinois Nature Preserves. These preserves are open to visitors, but are also used for scientific research and education.
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
 Bike Trailsyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
With all the beautiful view and recreational activities at Horseshoe Lake to choose from, you may wish to stay a few days to experience them all. There are 38 Class A camping sites with electricity and showers, 40 Class B/E camping sites with electricity only, and 10 Class C sites available for overnight guests.

Horseshoe Lake State Fish Wildlife Area is located near Cape Girardeau, Sikeston

Complete your visit to the "South" with a picnic at one of the four picnic areas located around the park. Each site includes picnic tables, park stoves and parking. Visitors with children might appreciate the playground located at the picnic area near the spillway. Drinking water is available at hydrants and fountains conveniently located throughout the park.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
write a review
Share On

Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
businesss listing main photo
Doc's Lakeside Cabin - Jonesboro, IL
Cottages and Cabins
Doc's Lakeside Cabin was built in 2012 and is located in beautiful Southern Illinois. Let us welcome you to setting where you can rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.
22.6 miles from park*
businesss listing main photo
Pinnon Lake Cabins - Buncombe, IL
Cottages and Cabins
Tucked away in the picturesque rolling hills of Southern Illinois, our location rests on the highly acclaimed Southern Illinois Wine Trail. Pinnon Lake cabins are ten tranquil minutes from the edge of Shawnee National Forest. Moments from anywhere yet feels like miles from it all.
29.4 miles from park*
businesss listing main photo
Cottages and Cabins
Enjoy a getaway to nearby Southern Illinois with Shawnee National Forest Cabins. Rustic log cabin rentals with modern comforts such as hot tubs, Wifi and satellite TV located near Garden of the God in the Shawnee National Forest.
61.9 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

state route ranger badge

Illinois State Parks