From I-57, take Old U.S. Highway 50 west for 22 miles to the Dam East Entrance road. Turn north and continue through the four-way intersection to the McNair Group Area.
BIKING, BOATING, CAMPING, FISHING, HIKING, WATER SPORTS, WILDLIFE VIEWING, SWIMMING SITE
MCGR,DAM EAST REC AREA,SOUTH SHORE,CARLYLE LAKE
Illinois State Road Conditions
McNair Group Area has a reservable group shelter 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.
The area provides fun both on the water and on shore. Boat ramps and courtesy docks are provided, and the vast lake allows for plenty of water sports.
Fishing is a popular pastime, and white bass, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, largemouth bass, freshwater drum, carp, flathead catfish and walleye can be found in abundance.
There is an on-site playground and plenty of open space for children to play in, as well as an amphitheater for educational programs.
McNair Group Area has one reservable group picnic shelter that accommodate up to 80 people, as well as 32 first-come, first-served individual campsites. The facility also provides a swimming beach, bathhouses and laundry facilities. McNair has a nature trail and a multi-use trail, and is connected to the Dam East facilities.
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.
Carlyle Lake is home to an array of wildlife that can be seen throughout the year. Its waters and shores are a resting spot for migratory waterfowl and other birds. There are six established Watchable Wildlife Sites with viewing towers open to the public around the lake.
Carlyle Lake Visitor Center, located in the Dam West Recreation Area, has information, a gift shop and nature exhibits, including a 215-gallon aquarium with native fish and a display featuring a live massasauga rattlesnake.