Visitors Guide to
Kaskaskia River Recreation Area

4800 Lock and Dam Road
Modoc, Illinois

Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities Accessible Interpretive Exhibits Accessible Hiking Trail Accessible Scenic View Accessible Wildlife Viewing Accessible Information Center Fishing Opportunities Boat Ramp Accessible Camping Facilities Accessible Restrooms Accessible Bald Eagle Viewing

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The Kaskaskia 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.

Visiting Kaskaskia River Recreation Area
     Visiting Hours
          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 Recreation Area.

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.

GPS Coordinates
N  37°  59.011'
W 89°  56.817'

Learn more about the Randolph County area.

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