Friday, July 27, 2007

Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Park

JEPC State Park has an interesting backstory. It was owned by ComEd which intended to build a power plant on the site, but didn't. Then the state bought it and the Department of Natural Resources turned it into a giant conservation area. When you think of great Illinois parks most people think of the beautiful views in Southern Illinois or the river banks at Starved Rock. This park is not like that. If the flatness of Illinois bugs you, then JEPC is not the park for you. JEPC is flat, flat prairie and tremendously large. But if you want to be able to roam and run or ride horses and fish this park is really enjoyable.

We spent a long weekend at JEPC last summer with 2 other families. B and I rented a super cute cabin overlooking a lake for $40 a night, while another family brought their pop-up camper, and the third family used tents. The neat thing is we were all able to set up in a single area, which is unusual as most parks in Central Illinois seem to segregate the tents, campers, and cabins.

The cabin we rented was two rooms with 2 sets of bunk beds and a full size bed. It had a ceiling fan in each room, a cement patio with a grill and a picnic table. It was so pleasant. The beds were pretty hard, so I'll take an air mattress to throw on top of the full bed when we go again.

The other facilities were very nice. The main bathhouse was the nicest I've ever experienced at a park. It was clean and well lit with lots of individual showers and roomy toilet stalls. There were a couple good size playgrounds nearby. It was an easy place to enjoy with children.

JEPC State Park is pretty far west of Springfield and not close to many small towns, so you'll want to have your provisions before you arrive. Arrive before evening because this park is so huge that it is easy to get lost trying to find your way to the campsites.


Anonymous said...

I like this campground too although I have a difficult time finding it and managed to get lost both times I went there.
I highly recommend cabins 8 and 9. They are both in a wooded area so they get plenty of shade and they are each situated right on the lake which is perfect if you want to dock your boat outside your cabin for the night.

Sally said...

And Great trails for running! Flat, like you say, but there's a lot to see. We had a great weekend there!

I imagine that in 20 years when the new trees have grown, the campsites will be quite shady, but for now they're a touch on the sunny side.

They also have a nice archery range.