Dam East Rec. Area (Day Use)

Carlyle Lake



Dam East Recreation 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.


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 the lake offers year-round varieties of fish such as bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white bass, largemouth bass, freshwater drum, carp and walleye. A multi-use biking and walking trail is located a short walk away.


Dam East features a reservable picnic shelter that can accommodate up to 75 people. It also has a courtesy dock and two boat ramps, including one of the best high water ramps on the lake. Visitors can walk or bike across the dam to the Dam West facilities.

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.

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.

Nearby Attractions

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.


For facility specific information, please call (618) 594-2484.
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Campground Matrix

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Nearby Campgrounds Distance Notification Rate
Dam East - Mcnair Campground
Carlyle Lake
Dam East Spillway (Day Use)
Carlyle Lake
Dam West Spillway
Carlyle Lake
Dam West Campground
Carlyle Lake
Dam West Day Use
Carlyle Lake
Coles Creek Day Use
Carlyle Lake
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