Lake Glendale Recreation Area Guide
Lake Glendale Recreation Area has something for everyone, and it’s located in a central part of the Shawnee National Forest that, gives you easier access to many great areas around the forest and southern Illinois.
Lake Glendale is not just a lake. There is a swimming beach, campground (electric and non-electric), hiking trails, mountain bike trails, kayaking and boating activities, fishing opportunities, and picnicking sites.
Lake Glendale Recreation Area might be all you need for a wonderful vacation weekend or week in the Shawnee National Forest.
How to get to Lake Glendale Recreation Area
Getting to Lake Glendale Recreation Area is easy.
To customize your directions from where you’re traveling, use this Google Maps Page with Lake Glendale automatically put in.
From Harrisburg: Take IL-145 south for 26 miles. Turn left onto Lake Road to enter the recreation area.
From Vienna: Take IL-146 east for 13 miles. Turn right onto Dylan Lane. Turn right onto IL-145 for 2 miles. Turn right on Lake Road to enter the recreation area.
From Metropolis: Take IL-145 north for 18 miles. Turn right onto Lake Road to enter the recreation area.
The main access to Lake Glendale Recreation Area is open all year round.
All roads leading to Lake Glendale are paved and can be traveled by all types of vehicles. During wintry conditions, Lake Road may not be treated like other roads. Please use caution when traveling to Lake Glendale during wintry weather conditions.
Make sure you have plenty of fuel. The closest gas stations to Lake Glendale are Vienna (15 miles away) or Metropolis (20 miles away).
What to do at Lake Glendale Recreation Area
There are a lot of different activities for multiple types of users at the Lake Glendale Recreation Area. There is plenty to do for day trips or overnight stays. Whether you’re staying for one day or a week, you’ll enjoy the many adventures Lake Glendale has to offer.
Hiking and Biking Trails
Lake Glendale has nearly 20 miles of hiking and biking trails.
The Lake Trail is a trail that goes around the entire perimeter of the lake. The trail is 3 miles in length and rated easy. It’s designated for hiking and mountain biking use. The trail can be easily accessed from campground spots along the lake.
The other trails extend into the Shawnee National Forest around the recreation area. The trails connect to Dixon Springs State Park. These trails are moderately difficult and are designated for hiking and mountain biking only. There are around 16 additional miles of trail.
You can download a free trail map for Avenza (also free) to navigate the hiking/biking trails on your smartphone without cellphone reception.
The Cardinal Bay Access area is where most hikers and mountain bikers park and start from.
Fishing, Boating, and Kayaking
Lake Glendale Recreation Area offers an 82-acre lake for ample fishing, boating, and kayaking opportunities.
Boat ramp access is at Cardinal Bay. There is plenty of parking in this area. This area is open from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
Boats may only have electric motors on this lake.
Fishing may be done from the shore or by boat. There is a 2-pole and line limit. Large/Smallmouth Bass or Spotted Bass – 15” min. Daily limit of 6 Channel Catfish. You must have an Illinois Fishing License to fish at Lake Glendale.
When the beach is open, kayak and paddleboat rental options are available.
There are various points of access to tie off boats and kayaks nearby to campsites along the lake accessible from the Lake Trail from campsites.
Swimming Beach and Concessions
There is a swimming beach and concessions stand at Lake Glendale Recreation Area.
The beach is open 7 days a week (day use only) from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend.
Children under the age of 1 get in for free. Ages 1 to 5 are $3.00. Ages 6 and up are $5.
Snacks and drinks are for sale at the beach concessions stand. There are showers and changing rooms for male and female beachgoers.
The beach does not have a lifeguard on duty.
Swimming is allowed at the beach only.
Camping and Picnicking
35 electric and 24 non-electric campsites are available at Oak Point Campground within Lake Glendale Recreation Area.
Most of the sites will accommodate trailers of up to 40’.
There is no reservation system. Campsites are first come, first serve.
Some sites have lake access, while other sites do not. Campground Map
The campground is open from March 1 to December 15.
The campground is operated by a concessionaire: Gary and Andrea Dahmer 618-658-0607
Campground amenities include a shower house, flush toilets, and water spigots.
Group camping is available.
There are picnic spots around the lake with pavilions and grills.
Hiking, Sightseeing, and Dining Nearby
Because of its centralized location, there are many additional areas of interest around Lake Glendale Recreation Area to enjoy.
For additional hiking opportunities, visit Millstone Bluff for an easy loop around an ancient Native American village. The nearby Millstone Lake is another great place for fishing, boating, and kayaking. Jackson Falls is famous for its rock climbing and bouldering features. Tunnel Hill State Trail is the longest rail trail in the region and features a tunnel you can bike or hike through. Heron Pond feels like you’re hiking through the bayous of Louisiana.
Check out Camp Ondessonk nearby for waterfalls, hiking, and more.
Watch the videos for this trail!
Below is a recent video that we filmed while enjoying this area.
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Thanks again for checking out another one of my articles and until next time, I’ll see you on the trail!
Founder, Hiking with Shawn
Howdy folks! My name is Shawn Gossman and I founded Hiking with Shawn. I’m an avid hiker, cyclist and outdoorsman here in the Shawnee National Forest. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois and never want to leave. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman