Moraine View State Park

Moraine View State Park is a nice place for recreational activities and relaxation. The park has been around since 1975, but there is an even bigger back story behind it. The park offers a variety of activities ranging from its own beach to winter sports. Moraine view also has its own unique geological formations. Like all parks, however, there are some rules and regulations that must be followed. So if you are looking for a nice place to get away from it all, look no further than Moraine View State Park.

History of Moraine View State Park

Moraine View State Park has been around since 1975. Before, it was originally known as the McLean County Conservation Area. The area that is now known as Moraine View State Park was originally home to the Kickapoo and Potawatomi Indian Tribes. After the War of 1812, the two tribes of Indians signed a treaty with Europeans allowing them remain on the land and hunt until the Europeans had moved in. By 1830, there were about six-hundred and thirty Kickapoo Indians living in a small village known as Old Town Timber. This village was just south of where Ellsworth is today.

The original settlers eventually drained/cleared the entire land. This was only because the original land was usually wet, marsh covered, prairie lands. This made it hard for the original settlers to set up homes. After they drained the land, they started making farms everywhere.

Within the 20th century, the people around what would later be called Moraine View had to make an artificial water-based recreation area. They had to do this because of the ever growing amount of people in the area.

Illinois originally purchased seven-hundred sixty acres of land in the Dawson Township. They were later awarded clearing contracts in 1960. Around July of 1962, Illinois started its construction on a dam, which was located on the North Fork tributary of Salt Creek. This was between the current day U.S. 150 and Route 9. The resulting lake made by the dam would be later called Dawson Lake. It got its name from the family that originally settled the land. Dawson Lake later became open to the public to fish in 1963.

Moraine View State Park became its official name in 1975. This was only after they had obtained 1,687 acres of land.

Activities Around Moraine View State Park

Fishing Currently the lake has been filled with largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, bullhead, crappie, channel catfish, walleye, yellow perch, and northern pike. Currently there is five miles worth of shoreline to fish from. If you are at all handicapped, there is also a special handicapped-accessible fishing pier.

Camping Currently there are 137 Class A trailer campsites. They provide electricity and sanitation stations. There are multiple locations within the campground that provide water. Out of the 137 campsites, there are sixty-one individual sites that can be reserved. You must go to the Gander Bay campground to make reservations. Within the Gander Bay campground is a boat launch area, and a dock. Alcohol isn't allowed at any of the campgrounds.

If you need to make a reservation, you can either go to the campground or their website.

If you need help finding anything with in the park, there is a campground map provided in the link below.

Picnicking Currently there are eight shady areas to picnic in. Each site includes tables and a fireplace. There are also five picnic shelters available. Three of the provided shelters are available for reservation. Two others are provided using a first-come first-serve basis.

Along with the picnic areas are four playgrounds. As stated in the camping section, you can make reservations for these shelters at

Boating Boats are available for rental at a concession stand near docking facility. The park provides a two-lane launch ramp. All boats much follow the speed limit of ten horsepower or less.

Swimming Swimming at the Black Locust picnic area is available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. However, it is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. The park does not allow alcohol or pets on the beach. The beach provided is a public beach, but remember there are no lifeguards available. Please make sure to watch your children when they go to swim.

Hiking Currently there are three main hiking trails available at Moraine View. There is the Tanglewood Self-Guiding Nature Trail. It takes you around the location known as the Lake Finger. As you walk this around this wooded area trail, you will come within view of a beaver dam. There is also a lodge down the trail.

Another trail provided is the Tall Timber Trail. It is a one-point five mile backpacking and hiking trail. Along the trail are multiple sites for camping.

The last of the trails provided is the Timber Point Handicapped Trail. It is a half-mile long trail for any and all handy-capable personnel.

Horseback Riding There is at least ten miles worth of bridle paths at the moment. Each path follows the Timberline Ridge trail, which goes along most of the Moraine View area. Horses are provided at the park. If you have any questions, you can contact them at the number provided below. You can also visit their website, which is provided below.

Phone #: 309-724-8500 Website:

Hunting Pheasant hunting is available for nine weeks. You much contact the park office to obtain special information. They can provide you with starting dates for different seasons, and any other information that may pertain to hunting. Please refer to the links below for special hunting information.

Winter Sports If there is a large amount of snow during the winter months, the park will open seven miles worth trails. The trails will allow anything from snowmobiles, ice fishing, and ice skating. However, ice fishing and ice skating will only be available if the ice is thick enough.

Geology of Moraine View

The park is currently located atop a moraine. Moraine View in particular was formed by the Wisconsin Glaciation. This occurred about 15,000 years ago. To the northeast side of Moraine view is the headwater of the Sangamon system. Moraine View serves as the headwaters for Salt Creek.

Extra Park Information

Moraine View State Park was originally closed in 2008 due to budget cuts in state funding. It was closed from November 1, 2008 until February. Pat Quinn was the one that reopened the park.

Moraine View allows groups up to twenty-four people. If you plan on bringing more than twenty-four people, you must register your group on their website. This is only because the park officials want to avoid overcrowding, or problems with the parks schedule. If you plan on bringing your pet to the park, you must keep it on a leash at all times. The park would like you to call ahead to make sure weather hasn't affected any of the camping grounds, or road work. This could include anything from obstructions on the roads, to downed trees.

The easiest way to get to Moraine View is to first get onto I 74 and take Exit 149 near LeRoy. You will then need to follow the road signs leading you to LeRoy. Once you reach LeRoy, you must turn left on US 150 next to LeRoy's own Casey General Store. You will then turn right onto LeRoy-Lexington blacktop, also known as County Highway 21), and continue north until you find the sign that states Moraine View State Park. You then will take the next right and then follow that road until you find the park. You will then go past the main entrance all the way to the flagpole.

Moraine View State Park's Quote: "Take only memories, leave only footprints."

Credit To:

27374 Moraine View Park Rd. LeRoy, IL 61752 309-724-8032

Personal Experience

I personally have only been to the park a few times. I usually went to the campground sites. Each time I went there were at least twenty plus other groups of people around us. It was a great experience each time. You would think with that many people that there would be a large amount of noise, but you can go out there and experience a nice and peaceful time. The best thing about Moraine View, in my opinion, is the camping experience. There are plenty of people all around, and they are all generally very helpful. I remember when I was little my family was trying to start a campfire, but everything we brought to start it wouldn't work. Eventually one of the neighboring campers came by and helped us out. Out of the many times that I went to Moraine View, I have only done a few things other than camp. I've fished along the shore and caught two bluegill fish. I've also swam near the beach. The only down side to swimming there is the fact the there is no safety net around the entire place. So there are a few dangers when go swimming there. I was originally worried when I first swam there because I couldn't see into the water at all. The water is a dark brown color, and from what I knew, there were snakes somewhere in the water. This would never detour me from going to Moraine View.


Dawson Lake is the best out there. It whole land is surrounded by it. Part of the lake is available to swim in. You can enjoy a nice warm summer day by the water and go fishing later It is the perfect place to go hunting as well. There are bird hunting spots, plenty of timber for hunting deer, and lots of room to roam around to find that deer. Make sure though to have your foid card to hunt. They will not let you hunt unless you have that on you. Along with the gorgeous scenery you can take a horse ride through the park. There is a horse stable where you can ride on a trail all around the park. For all information you can click on the link below to find out even more!

It's easy to get lost trying to get to Moraine view, so make sure you've got directions before you go.