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Dam East Spillway (Day Use) Carlyle Lake, Illinois

Dam East Spillway (Day Use) Photos


Dam East Spillway Day Use Area is situated on the southern shore of Carlyle Lake, a prime getaway for city-dwellers and families. Located 50 miles east of St. Louis, the area offers the peaceful retreat of a small town combined with the grandeur of Illinois’ largest man-made lake.


Dam East Spillway is connected to the Dam East Recreation Area. It has one reservable group picnic shelter that can accommodate up to 75 people, as well as 15 individual campsites that are open year-round. A courtesy dock and two boat ramps are available, including one of the best high water boat ramps on the lake. There is a beach located nearby at the McNair Group Area.

Natural Features

Created in 1967, the 26,000-acre lake is recognized as one of the nation’s top ten inland sailing lakes and hosts several annual races and regattas.


The area provides fun both on the water and on shore. Boat ramps and courtesy docks are located nearby, and the vast lake allows for plenty of water sports. Fishing is a popular pastime, and the lake and Kaskaskia River offer year-round varieties of fish such as bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white bass, largemouth bass, freshwater drum, carp and walleye. There is an on-site playground and plenty of open space for children to play. A multi-use biking and walking trail is located a short walk away.

Recreation Sites

  • Group Shelter Electric
  • Day


  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Historic & Cultural Site
  • Boating
  • Biking


  • Drinking Water
  • Fish Cleaning Stations
  • Flush Toilets
  • Parking Area
  • Playground
  • Self Pay Station
  • Vault Toilets
  • Electricity Hookup
  • BBQ
  • Fitness Trails
  • Picnic Shelters
  • Picnic Tables
  • Pets Allowed
  • River Access

Nearby Attractions

The Carlyle Lake Visitor Center, located in the Dam West Recreation Area, has information available and nature exhibits on display, including a 215-gallon aquarium with native fish.

Directions and Contact Information

From I-57, take Old U.S. Route 50 west for 37 miles to the Dam East entrance road and turn north. Turn west at the next intersection and proceed west for 1.2 miles to the Dam East Spillway.

Need to Know

  • Shelter hours are 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily.
  • Firewood brought into this facility must be purchased, or collected locally due to invasive insects.
  • Don’t Move Firewood: Protect your forests from tree-killing pests by buying your firewood locally and burning it on-site. Visit for further information.
  • Click here for a virtual tour of Carlyle Lake

Location Map

Latitude : 38° 35′ 58.9999″ N
Longitude: 89° 20′ 58.9999″ W

Mailing Address

CARLYLE, IL 62231-9703

Phone Number


Additional Information

Print Facility Map
Illinois State Tourism
Illinois State Road Conditions

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