Beall Woods State Park
Beall Woods Avenue
Mount Carmel, IL 62863
on the banks of the Wabash River in southeastern
Illinois, Beall Woods attracts visitors from around
the world wanting a glimpse of one of the few
remaining tracts of virgin timber east of the
Mississippi River where one can see trees 120 feet
tall and over 3 feet in diameter.
Besides hiking, Beall Woods also offers camping,
picnicking, and fishing to the visitor who wants to
spend time in a quiet, relaxing setting.
Beall Woods (pronounced Bell) had been under
ownership of the Beall family since the mid-1800's.
While a working farm, almost half of the 635 acres
consisted of forest that had never been cleared.
When Laura Beall, the last living heir, died
without a will, this land went up for auction and
was sold to a man who intended to cut the timber.
Many individuals and organizations came together in
an effort to prevent this from happening. A trial
ensued and the land was purchased by the state of
Illinois in 1965 by invoking the law of eminent
domain against the unwilling seller. In 1966, 329
acres of old-growth forest in Beall Woods State Park
was dedicated as the 14th Illinois nature
preserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves
Commission. With this action, a piece of Illinois�
natural heritage was preserved so that future
generations have the opportunity to see an example
of the magnificent forest that once grew along the
The new visitor center opened in April 2001 with
educational displays focusing on the history of the
area as well as our natural heritage.
The park interpreter offers a variety of nature
programs at the center from April through October.
Weekday programs are also available for school
groups. For more information on either type of
program, click here.
Picnic shelters, playground areas and pit toilets
are located around the recreation area of the lake.
No reservations are taken for the picnic areas. They
are on a first come, first serve basis.
Shaded picnicking is also available near the
In the late 1970s, a 15-acre lake was developed
to provide additional recreation and scenic
opportunities for park visitors. Anglers can fish
for largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish. The lake
is also stocked in the spring and fall for trout
season. While a boat launch is located on the lake,
only trolling motors may be used.
Sixteen Class C campsites with vehicular access
and restrooms but no showers or electricity are
available. A disposal station is also available for
the camper�s use.
No reservations are necessary for the campground.
Campers are asked to set up at their chosen campsite
and park personnel will come by to issue a permit.
The five established trails offer the hiker an
excellent view of this old-growth forest. From the
easy 1-mile Tuliptree trail which features a
self-guided trail brochure to the 1.25-mile
moderately easy White oak trail, the nature
enthusiast can get a sense of what the settlers saw
when they arrived at the banks of the Wabash River.
To preserve the fragile ecosystem, hikers are
urged to stay on the established trails. Pets,
bicycles and horses are not allowed on the trails.
Collecting or removing any natural objects is
prohibited. Depending on the season, visitors should
come prepared with insect repellent.
Tuliptree Trail - An easy 1-mile upland
forest trail. Several self-guided brochures
featuring tree identification and spring wildflowers
growing along this trail are available for visitor
use and can be picked up at the trail entrance or in
the visitor center.
White Oak Trail - With the exception of
two flights of steps, the White Oak is a moderately
easy 1.25-mile trail that offers the hiker the
greatest variety of vegetation and forest
conditions. It passes over five soil types, through
good examples of upland and bottomland forest and
gives the visitor a good sense of what the settlers
experienced when arriving at this part of the state.
For those interested in a longer hike, the Ridgway
Trail is accessed from the White Oak Trail.
Ridgway Trail - This 1.75-mile moderately
easy trail is accessed from the White Oak Trail. It
is a dedicated living memorial to Robert Ridgway,
one of America's foremost ornithologists (a person
who studies birds), who spent his boyhood in this
area. Closed periodically during flooding, this
trail winds through a reforested field and features
several varieties of bottomland oak and hickory
trees. A combined White Oak-Ridgway Trail walk is a
total of 3 miles in length.
Sweet Gum Trail - This .50 mile easy trail
follows Coffee Creek and features an interesting
rock cliff. Many plants adapted to cool, moist and
shady conditions thrive here. The visitor must
access this trail from the park's north side. The
trail is closed periodically due to flooding.
Schneck Trail - This trail is dedicated to
Dr. Jacob Schneck, a pioneer Mount Carmel physician
and botanist. This easy 1.75-mile trail is accessed
from the park's north side and is closed
periodically due to flooding.
Beall Woods is open year-round from sunrise to
10:00 p.m. The park is closed on Christmas Day and
New Year�s Day.
In an effort to reduce the negative impacts
white-tailed deer are having on the nature preserve,
a deer management program has been implemented at
Beall Woods utilizing the archery season.
Beall Woods State Park is located in Wabash
County, 6 miles south of Mt. Carmel, Illinois, on
Route 1 near Keensburg.
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