The Big River State Forest is a pine forest in the Keithsburg area of Illinois and encompasses the Oquwaka Refuge which contains the oldest pine forest in the state. Visitors flock to the park to enjoy camping out in a woodland environment, horse riding along the forest trails, boating, fishing, and hiking.
In wintertime, the state forest attracts snowmobilers to its thirty miles of snowmobiling trails. Hunters are also drawn to the forest for quail and deer hunting during the appropriate seasons. While dogs are welcome in the Big River State Forest, they are expected to be leashed at all times.
The Big River State Park does not have any area which has been designated as an off-leash area for exercising dogs or a dog park. The park is the ideal place to visit and ponder on the majesty of trees. Here you can see jack pines which have grown to a height of fifty feet and have fun trying to guess their age while your pup sniffs around their massive trunks.
Yes, fallen pine needles sticking to paws and fur can cause a dog some discomfort, but that's offset by their sheer enjoyment at being outdoors. It's advisable to make a reservation via the website before camping at the Big River State Park. The reservation carries a non-refundable fee of $5. The charges for camping are around $25 per night plus an extra daily charge for utilities such as showers, electricity, and sewage.
Discounts are available for residents of the state of Illinois who are either veterans or seniors. Those wishing to catch fowl for their campsite dinner, are required to apply for a Site Windshield Card, leave one part in their vehicle in plain view and carry the other on their person. Everyone using this state park must abide by the fire and safety regulations as well as removing all dog excrement from the trails.