Tazewell County Field Guide


Discover Peoria


Tazewell County offers 25 recreational areas to get you out of doors and into nature. From boating to bird watching, outdoor activities abound. Plan ahead to book campsites, secure fishing and hunting licenses, and map your route. With so many trails, streams, and paths to explore, you’ll want to get out and stay out! Be sure to bring your binoculars, fill your water bottles, and lace up your sturdiest footwear for those roads less traveled. Now, get out there!

Brock Lake Park  {Mackinaw}   //   Explore a 10-acre lake with .3 miles of accessible shoreline, complete with a gravel boat ramp and fishing dock. Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Black Crappie, and Bluegill/Redear Sunfish all lurk in Brock Lake—a variety that makes this fishing hole a local favorite! Beyond the lake shore, the park has ample open grass areas to picnic, play sports, or set up lawn chairs to relish in a breezy afternoon overlooking the lake.

Carl Spindler Campground + Marina {East Peoria} // Pull your RV into one of fifty-five paved sites with 50-am electricity and varying combinations of water/sewer hookups. If you prefer more rustic camping, pitch a tent on one of twenty-six primitive sites, some with electricity, or rent a cabin. Need a shower after a long day at the riverside campground and marina? No problem, shower and laundry facilities are available, along with a playground for the kids and fire pits to toast s’mores and keep you warm on chilly nights. Spend your days hiking, fishing or paddling—canoe and kayak rentals are available.

Cooper Park North {East Peoria} // Cooper Park North is a bird spotters’ paradise, with a large open space and a forest trail with midway access to the Illinois River Road Trail. See what kind of wildlife you can spy from the wetland views along the trail, or soaring above the forest. Water lovers can paddle or fish along the river, and your furry friend will love the shady path that winds through the trees. The park is adjacent to Cooper Park South and just a hop, skip and jump from Carl Spindler Campground and Marina.

Autumn Park

Cooper Park South  {East Peoria}   //   Dog lovers will find themselves at peace in Cooper Park South, with a large lush lawn for your animal friends to play and explore, and wetland and river views along the trails. Boaters can pay a small fee to use the access ramp on site, and float lazily along the river. The park is a stop along the Greater Peoria Canoe and Kayak Trail, and visitors can quickly access the Illinois River Road Trail. Time your boating excursion just right and you can enjoy lunch or dinner at Jonah’s Seafood House, just a short walk from the park.

Don Burch Boat Dock + Picnic Area {Creve Coeur} // Don Burch Boat Dock is a popular stop along the Greater Peoria Canoe and Kayak Trail. Along with paddling, the park is a great place to launch a boat, fish, or picnic and play in the large, open, grass space with river views. . Pack up lunch from home, or pop over to nearby Kuchie’s on the Water for classic American fare.

East Peoria Riverfront Park {East Peoria} // East Peoria Riverfront Park is known for its paved trails, playgrounds, and picnic areas. Decorative lighting along the path sets a festive ambiance while you hike or bike. This eight-acre city park has stunning views of the Peoria skyline, the Illinois River, and Caterpillar Visitors Center. It is Ideal for enjoying the majestic scenery in an urbanized setting and for exploring the many attractions, including art shows and concerts.

Farmdale Reservoir {Washington} // Farmdale Reservoir is a national historic landmark boasting 837 acres packed with 15 miles of pet-friendly trails for nature watching, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding. You can fish, study the environment, or forage for mushrooms, berries, and nuts, all while communing with the local wildlife.

Fort Creve Coeur Park + Nature Preserve  {Creve Coeur}   //   Situated on the bluffs overlooking the Illinois River, the 11 trails of Fort Creve Coeur Park are suitable for all skill levels of bikers and hikers, including challenges for more experienced enthusiasts. Pause along the path for photo-worthy views of the river and downtown Peoria skyline. Plan to stay the night at the Park’s campground, which offers restrooms, onsite showers, playground, gift shop and even a  museum commemorating the tribulations, desertions, and suffering of the French explorers who settled on the land they named “Fort Broken Heart.”

Hooked on Fishing Park  {East Peoria}   // Hooked on Fishing Park is a unique, non-profit organization that shares the joy of fishing by providing free fishing experiences for youth, seniors, veterans, and special needs groups. Bring your own gear, or borrow from the park and take advantage of instructional guidance, including fishing ethics and techniques from park volunteers. They’ll also share insights on the ponds’ springs, artesian wells, aquifers, and water quality issues. Hooked on Fishing Park is seasonal, open from early May through mid-October.

Illinois River Road Trail  {East Peoria}   //   The Illinois River Road Trail is a 1-mile, pet-friendly trail that follows the Illinois River and leads through multiple parks. Enjoy river, wetland, and city skyline views while you hike the wide, wooden boardwalk. Stops along the way include Cooper Parks North and South and Splindler Marina.

Autumn Park

Ilo Dillin State Habitat Area  {Armington}   //   Hunters will love exploring this 80-acre, dog-friendly state habitat area, featuring an eclectic mix of warm and cool season grasses, woodlands, agriculture fields, wetlands, and creek bottoms. All statewide hunting regulations apply; hunters can check online on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website (huntillinois.org) for species-specific regulations. 

Mackinaw River State Fish + Wildlife Area with DNR Canoe Landing {Mackinaw} // Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area covers 1,448 acres of timbered hills, open meadows, and river bottoms and features three picnic areas with restrooms. One of central Illinois’ most scenic and pristine rivers, the Mackinaw is a favorite of paddlers and fishers hoping to hook a channel catfish, flathead catfish or small-mouth bass. Hikers can explore the 2.5 mile Gold Mine Trail, keeping a lookout for wildlife under the forest canopy – bring your binoculars, this area is a birding hotspot! Hunters can stalk deer, squirrel, turkey, dove, and upland game, but first check in at the onsite office to learn the rules and regulations.

Manito Pheasant Habitat Area  {Manito}   //   Manito Pheasant Habitat Area is a 78-acre grassland habitat with hunting and trailless hiking. All statewide hunting regulations apply; hunters can check online on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website (huntillinois.org) for species-specific regulations. 

Manito Prairie Nature Preserve  {Manito}   //   From Blue Jays and Mourning Doves to Common Grackles and Yellowthroats, birds of a feather flock to Manito Prairie Nature Preserve as do avid birders who enjoy spotting a wide variety of flying friends. Wear sturdy footwear, because the preserve does not have marked hiking trails.

North Lake {Tremont} // North Lake, a property of the Tremont Area Park District is open for fishing year-round, by permit and with an Illinois Fishing License. The lake is stocked with Walleye, Largemouth Bass, Channel Cat, Blue Gill, Redear Sunfish, and a wide variety of Crappie species. Visit the Park District’s website for a complete list of fishing guidelines and regulations.

ParkLands Nature Preserve  {Mackinaw}   //   With Mackinaw River State Fish + Wildlife Area right next door, you could easily spend a day exploring this little corner of Tazewell County. Through the forest, over the hills and along the river, ParkLands has forty acres of natural landscapes to traverse and numerous wildlife to spot.

Pekin Lake State Fish + Wildlife Area {Pekin} // Although the trails aren’t fully established, hiking is definitely an option, as are fishing or paddling around the lake and to the river. The site offers a boat launch, giving you easy access to 1,181 acres of bottomland with sloughs, lakes, and low-timbered ridges. It’s also a natural birding hotspot, with reports of over 200 species observed. Deer and waterfowl hunting are allowed in a designated 305-acre area. All statewide hunting regulations apply; hunters can check online on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website (huntillinois.org) for species-specific regulations.

Pekin Park Trail  {Pekin}   //   Skateboarders, cyclists, roller bladers, strollers, dogs on leashes, joggers, cross country skiers, and walkers are all welcome on this 4.3 mile, multi-use trail through the City of Pekin. Travel between Allentown Orad and the Illinois River at the Pekin Bridge. Loop through Coal Miners’ Park, and pass through Mineral Springs Park for an easy family hike. This trail links together multiple parks, neighborhoods, and businesses, with parking available at the Pekin Riverfront, Mineral Springs Park, or Coal Miners’ Park.

Pekin Riverfront + Miller Parks {Pekin} // Hikers can expect a paved riverfront path and trailhead access to Pekin Park Trail. The Pekin Riverfront—which includes Festival Plaza and has an event meadow—is the southernmost stop on the Greater Peoria Canoe and Kayak Trail. Kids will absolutely love the steamboat themed playground and splash pad. It’s a beautiful spot to have a picnic, play horseshoe, or just enjoy the wildlife. Dogs are welcome in this four-acre city park on the Illinois River, and it’s right next to Miller Park with five acres of fun, including a boat ramp, picnic grills, and a shelter.

Powerton Lake State Fish + Wildlife Area  {Pekin}   //   Powerton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Lake packs 1,426 acres of boating, fishing, and waterfowl hunting. It’s also a birding hotspot, with reported sightings of more than 170 species. The fortified fishing waters draw anglers from far and wide, seeking Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Stripers, Bluegill, Crappie, and the more popular species of Catfish.

River Trail of Illinois {East Peoria} // The River Trail of Illinois has access points from East Peoria through Morton, perfect for hiking and biking across Tazewell County. With a variety of amenities along the trail route, be sure to stop off at Fondulac Park and Bunnel Field. River Trail is a great place to study nature, take a jog, or cross-country ski. The trail offers an educational introduction to both tallgrass prairie and bluffland forest habitats common to the Illinois River Valley.

Autumn Park

Spring Creek Preserve  {East Peoria}   //   Spring Creek Preserve is home to many species of birds, animals, butterflies, trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. There are a number of mowed and maintained hiking trails—the Old Fields Loop is a gentle two-mile walk around three farm fields in the bottomland, and the Woodland Loop makes a moderate climb through oak and maple woods, nearly 200 feet above the parking lot. The preserve is a serene place to hike hills, prairies, and stream crossings. Bird spotters have reported nearly 140 species.

Spring Lake State Fish + Wildlife Area  {Manito}   //   Spring Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area is an outdoor paradise close to home that boasts boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking, and camping. Two lakes stock  fish native to the Illinois River and Spring Lake allows waterfowl, squirrel and deer archery hunting.  The south boat ramp has a concessionaire providing boat rentals and two tent camping sites are available. Make a day of it and be sure to pack your binoculars—bird spotters have reported observing nearly 250 different species!

Washington Recreation Trail {Washington} // The Washington Recreation Trail connects many areas of town with hiking and biking trails. The trail system features 11 miles of concrete and asphalt surfaces, making it a great recreational amenity for the community and an ideal alternative means of transportation to a variety of community resources and destinations.

Discover Peoria
Discover Peoria

Discover Peoria, IL