Moraine View State Recreation Area
27374 Moraine View Park Rd.
LeRoy, IL 61752
With fully developed facilities for picnicking,
camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, boating,
horseback riding and hunting, the 1,687-acre Moraine
View State Recreation Area, with its 158-acre lake,
is a beautiful, convenient and accessible locale for
relaxation and recreation.
From I 74, Exit #149 at LeRoy. Follow signs into
LeRoy. Turn left on US 150 to Casey General Store.
Turn Right on LeRoy-Lexington blacktop (County Hwy.
21). North to sign (Moraine View State Park), next
right. Follow road into park, past main entrance to
When the glaciers of the last Ice Age moved
through central Illinois 14,000 years ago, they
pushed massive amounts of rock and earth before
them, leaving in their wake long and expansive
ridges that ripple across the landscape. Scientist
call these irregular crests �moraines.� On their
gentle swells and their broad valleys are scattered
groves of white oak, red oak, black walnut, maple,
hickory, ash and elm.
One of the four largest of these moraines in
Illinois �the Bloomington Moraine� stretches
across the state from Elgin to the Illinois River at
Peoria east to Saybrook. In the middle of this
sprawling feature, Moraine View State Recreation
Area provides an ideal opportunity to enjoy both the
tranquil natural beauty of Midwestern woodland and
refreshing outdoor activity.
In 1959 the State of Illinois purchased 760 acres
in Dawson Township. The state awarded clearing
contracts in 1960, and by July of 1962, construction
had begun on a dam on the North Fork tributary of
Salt Creek between US 150 and Illinois Route 9. In
1963, they opened the resulting lake, called Dawson
Lake after the families of early settlers, for
Originally known as the McLean County
Conservation Area, additional acquisitions have
expanded the area to its present 1,687 acres, and in
1975, the state designated it as Moraine View State
There are five picnic shelters, three available
for reservations and two for first-come, first-serve
use. There are four playground areas for the kids.
When early Europeans first arrived in this area,
they found the Kickapoo and Potawatomi Indian tribes
peacefully sharing the countryside. Following the
War of 1812, the tribes signed a treaty with the
Europeans enabling them to continue to live on the
land and take game until white settlers moved in. In
1830 there were 630 Kickapoo living in a village in
�Old Town Timber� south of Ellsworth.
The scattered groves of timber along the streams
provided these early settlers with shelter from the
bitter winds of winter, building materials, fuel and
shade. The wet, sometimes marshy, prairie lands,
though tough and difficult to turn with their
primitive implements, were gradually drained or
cleared, and small farms sprang up everywhere,
taking advantage of the rich fertile soils left by
the glacial retreat.
A concession stand, located near the boat dock
and launch, offers dock and boat rental, fishing
tackle, bait, refreshments and various supplies. A
restaurant, seating 60, serves breakfast and lunch
daily. For information, call (309) 724-8295.
The state regularly stocks the lake with
largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, bullhead,
crappie, channel catfish, walleye, yellow perch and
Drifting and bobbing on the glittering expanse of
Dawson Lake is one of the site's most popular
activities, whether aboard a sailboat or in a motor
craft of 10 horsepower or less. Presently, an
idle-speed/no-wake speed limit exists for boat
motors over 10 horsepower. There is a two-lane
launching ramp and docking facility and boat rentals
are available at the concession stand.
The Black Locust picnic area includes a public,
sandy beach where swimming is permitted from
Memorial Day to Labor Day. The park does not allow
alcohol or pets on the beach, and swimmers are to
remain in the buoyed area. There are no lifeguards.
The half-mile Tanglewood Self-Guiding Nature
Trail winds around the lake finger in a wooded area
and will take you within sight of a thriving beaver
dam and lodge. Tall Timber Trail, a 1.5-mile
backpack and hiking trail over moderate terrain,
also provides sites for primitive camping along its
course. The Timber Point Handicapped Trail is a
half-mile long opportunity for the disabled visitor
to enjoy the pleasures of the woods as well.
More than 10 miles of bridle paths on Timberline
Ridge Trail wind through most of the area. There is
an equestrian campground available and horses are
available at the stables for group trail rides.
When the season brings sufficient snow, 7 miles
of trails are open for cross-country skiing, and the
field trial trails accommodate the higher horsepower
of snowmobiles. Ice fishing and ice-skating are
available when the ice is thick enough.
Thirteen hundred acres of this are open to public
hunting in season. Moraine View is one of eight
sites in Illinois that has nine weeks of controlled
pheasant hunting. Please consult the park office for
specific information concerning hunting and opening
dates for various species.
Page 1 of 1