River Valley has drawn people throughout history because of its abundant
fertile agricultural land and convenient transportation. In a time when
roads were very scarce and not maintained, the Kaskaskia River was the
best means of transportation and also an avenue for the early fur
traders into southwestern and central Illinois. Later the river was used
to ship grain and in the early 19th century small steamboats were used
to take out the soft wheat flour milled in towns along its banks. In
1962 the U.S. Congress authorized the construction of the Kaskaskia
River Project which provided for two large reservoirs, Carlyle Lake and
Lake Shelbyville, and a series of levees at various points and a single
navigation lock of 84 feet wide and 600 feet long just above the
confluence of the Kaskaskia and Mississippi Rivers. Dedication of the
Kaskaskia Lock & Dam was held on Saturday, July 20, 1974.
The area surrounding the Kaskaskia Lock and Dam has been converted into
a recreation area for public enjoyment. The site includes a day use area
with picnic tables and shelters. The office at the Lock and Dam has a
small visitor’s center which provides interpretive information about the
Kaskaskia River Project as well as information on area attractions.
Tours can be arranged to see how locks and dams work. Reservations are
requested for large group tours.
There are two boat ramps at the site. One provides access to the
Kaskaskia River and the other provides access to the Mississippi River.
Fishing is a popular activity on the Kaskaskia River with its 36 miles
of channelized river, oxbows, creeks, and river bottom lakes. Fishing
for channel catfish and flathead catfish is especially popular at this
site and other species include largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, carp,
and freshwater drum. All exist in good numbers and provide excellent
fishing throughout the year.
The Kaskaskia River Recreation Area has fifteen sites available in its
camping area that and include amenities such as electric, picnic tables,
grills, gravel pads, trash pickup, comfort stations. 50 amp hookups
allow use by RVs.
The Confluence Heritage Area is managed as natural area and is located
at the confluence of the two rivers. The area consists of a mature
cottonwood and silver maple forest community that exists in the flood
plain. A handicapped accessible 1/2 mile trail winds through this area
from the campgrounds to the confluence. Located at the confluence is an
amphitheater using native limestone stone as seating where interpretive programs
and special events are held.
Kaskaskia River Recreation Area
The day use area, campground, and Confluence Heritage Area are open 24
hours a day except when flooded
The Visitors Center and tours of the Lock and Dam are open 8 am - 5 pm
(limited hours in the off season, please call in advance)
There is no charge to visit Kaskaskia River
Kaskaskia River Recreation
Area is located on Lock and Dam Road. From Modoc Lock and Dam Road is
approximately 4 miles south on County Road 7. From Ellis Grove take
Roots Road of IL-3 (the Great River Road) approximately 3 miles to Lock
and Dam Road. From either direction take Lock and Dam Road 2.4 miles to the entrance to
Kaskaskia River Recreation Area.
N 37° 59.011'
W 89° 56.817'
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