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  1. Illinois DNR
  2. Parks
  3. Activities

Activities at Sand Ridge SF

Picnicking
What better way to spend the day than to load up the car with the family for an old-fashioned picnic. The Turkey Pass Picnic Area is located on Cactus Drive just north of Pine Campground. Tables, grills, water, a shelter and pit-vault toilets are provided. Groups of 25 or more must have a Group Use Permit or may reserve the shelter using the Reserve America website at www.reserveamerica.com.

Camping
If you and your family are interested in a rustic setting for camping, Pine Campground is the place for you. It contains 27 Class "C" sites featuring water, pit-vault toilets, fire pads, and a place to park two vehicles. Oak Campground provides open space, water, pit toilets and council rings for organized group camping. Horseman's Park offers a staging area for equestrian camping and horseback riding activities, and has hitching rails, water, pit toilets and a shelter area. Oak Campground and Horseman's Park have shelters and campsites that can be rented by using the Reserve America website at www.reserveamerica.com. If you are unable to reserve a campsite for the date you want, contact the site at 309-597-2212 or by email. Back-country camping is available at 12 primitive sites along 55 miles of trail providing a true wilderness camping experience. Users must obtain a permit from the forest headquarters prior to back-country use.
Groups of 25 people or more must obtain a Group Use Permit from site staff. Activity Permits are required whenever a non-traditional use of any facility is requested and/or any activity that might increase potential liability to the Department.
 
Equestrian Trails
Horseman's Park Campground offers Class C camping for the equestrian community. The 50 miles of trails and more than 120 miles of fire lanes offer the average equestrian excellent opportunities (Equestrian Regulations). For a horse to cover all the trails and fire lanes, it would take a good weekend's worth of riding. Fire pads, hitching rails, picket-line posts and pit-vault toilets are provided for visitor use. A shelter for day use can be reserved using Reserve America.
Day use for the equestrian community is provided at Mockernut Meadow Day Use Area, which has fire pads, tables and tethering posts. The brome grass provides a great cover for horses and sand to meet the day-to-day demand. Water buffalo keeps the horses watered and a hand pump across the road to the south provides water for human consumption. Horses are not allowed in the hand pump area. Sand Ridge Equestrian Regulations & Map
 
Hiking Trails
Forty-four miles of marked trails, ranging from 1.5 to 15 miles each, and 120 miles of fire lanes offer unequaled opportunities to the hiker, backpacker, horseback rider or snowmobiler. Sand Ridge Trail Map
 
Snowmobiling
A person can take advantage of 26 miles of designated trails when there's at least 4 inches of snow. The trail head is located at the Oak Campground and the trail is open 24 hours a day.
 
Hunting
An abundance of deer, red and gray fox, coyote, squirrel, raccoon, quail, pheasant, woodcock and dove make this an ideal location for hunting. Check the Hunter Fact Sheets for details for Sand Ridge State Forest (including Sparks Pond and Revis Hill Prairie) and Oakford State Habitat Area.
 
Sand Ridge Hunter Fact Sheet  | Sand Ridge Sportsman's Digest & Map | Henry Allan Gleason Sportsman's Digest & Map | Oakford Sportsman's Digest & Map | Revis Spring Hill Prairie Sportsman's Digest & Map | Sparks Pond Sportsman's Digest & Map
 
Hand Trap Range
A hand trap facility is open all year, except during the upland game season, for visitors interested in shooting trap. Rifles and handguns are not allowed on the hand trap range. Remember to put spent shells and other liter in their place. Register at the forest headquarters and check the regulations before shooting.