The largest state park in Illinois is the beautiful Pere Marquette State Park. Comprising more than 8,000 acres, this park is five miles west of the small town of Grafton in Jersey County, Illinois, which is about 30 miles from St. Louis, Missouri. The autumnal colors of the park are a favorite for locals and visitors alike. In the winter, hikers are graced with sights of bald eagles. The Pere Marquette Park Illinois also enjoys views of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers from scenic overlooks. There are many year-round activities that draw visitors to the park, including biking, horseback riding, fishing, and boating. Visiting the park is one of the most pleasant things to do in Illinois, regardless of when you go.
Pere Marquette State Park is the namesake of Jacques Marquette, a French missionary. He is depicted in a mural on display at the visitor center. The grounds are filled with important archeological sites, including more than 150 small Native American burial grounds. Construction in the 1930s and in 1985 uncovered these archeological discoveries. Pere Marquette in Grafton Illinois has been under the care of the Civilian Conservation Corps since the 1930s. Since then, they have consistently maintained the grounds and built parking areas, campgrounds, bridges, fences, and foot and horse trails.
Pere Marquette Park Illinois also offers accommodation with its restored lodge. Today, the original wood of the lodge has been renovated to provide first-class accommodations. A massive stone fireplace in the Great Room is the centerpiece of the lodge, where the roof soars to a height of 50 feet. The lodge has 50 guest rooms and 22 stone cabin rooms, along with a cocktail lounge, gift shop, indoor pool, sauna, and tennis court. A conference center at the lodge can also accommodate up to 300 people for a business or banquet event.
If camping is more your style, there are a few options at Pere Marquette in Grafton Illinois. One site can accommodate RVs and traditional campers. This campground includes electric facilities, sanitary facilities, and drinking water. Open from May to October, reservations can be made in advance at the park’s web site. A different campground, for tents only, also has access to a shower building. A youth tent camp area is a popular option for local scout groups. This allows groups to explore the many offerings of the Pere Marquette State Park for days at a time.
The visitor center at Pere Marquette Park Illinois prepares you for your exploration. An information center with displays and exhibits, visitors will know what part of the park they would like to explore before setting out. With ten trails that total more than twelve miles of hiking opportunities, visitors will encounter a range of habitats. Nine scenic overlooks keep the hiking interesting, as panoramic views over the nearby rivers are seen. Categorized by difficulty level, there is a hiking trail for all levels of experience. If you find yourself in Pere Marquette in Grafton Illinois, there are activities to keep you busy for days. From bird-watching (230 species of birds have been identified in the park) to horse back riding, fun for the entire family is guaranteed at this Illinois State Park.