NF Campground Rating – Lake Glendale (Shawnee National Forest, IL)

This was the fabulous, lucky campground we found on Labor Day week-end.
  1. Site Quality = 4/5
    We were happily surprised by the site quality here. All the electric sites (30 amp) are large, hard dirt and nicely flat. The primitive sites vary a bit, some being more narrow and uneven, but there’s a nice selection of flat sites as well as double sites which can easily accommodate big rigs. The sites are well separated and the area is heavily wooded so there’s tons of privacy for each camper. None have direct lake-views, but several have short trails (10 feet at most) to lakeside. Each site has picnic table and fire-pit.
  2. Facilities = 3.5/5
    There’s decent facilities here. The bathrooms are large and well-kept and there’s free showers. The main annoyance is that the showers have a timer button which I swear was set to only ~15 secs, so barely enough time to wait for the water to get warm before it goes out. The campground has on-site dump station and potable water. Also, there are pinic areas and a swimming beach (albeit paying) on the lake.
  3. Location = 4/5
    This is definitely on of those “out there” locations which is perfect for those that like to get away. The campsite is beautifully located in the middle of a thick forest and right next to stunning Lake Glendale with tons of hiking right from your site. You’re also a short drive from local sights like Garden of the Gods. However, don’t expect to come here to do your shopping.
  4. Pet Friendliness = 5/5
    Fabulous doggie place like all National Forests. Plenty of places for hiking and hanging out.

Overall Rating = 4.1
BONUS ALERT = Dense and relaxing forest next to stunning Lake Glendale

Summary: This was a fabulous and serene stop for us on (otherwise busy) Labor Day week-end. For those who like getting “out there” Shawnee National Forest, IL is definitely a go-to location. Most of the campgrounds here are non-reservation and you probably won’t have connectivity, but if you’re looking for peace and quiet with nature, woods and hiking this is an awesome place to stay. At Lake Glendale most of the pads were surprisingly large (and nicely flat), and there was a good selection of electric as well as primitive sites. Lots of privacy between campers and miles of (unmarked, mind you) hiking trails in the nearby forest. Also, you’re right next to stunning Lake Glendale with fishing, beach and boating. This is a place that locals go because they know it’s good and almost everyone else passes by. Our kind of stop indeed!

Extra Info:  No regular connectivity here (neither AT&T Cellphones nor Verizon wireless worked), however we were able to get on-line with external antenna and amplifier. No reservations (first-come-first-serve only), but selection of primitive and electric sites. Sites are $18/night for electric, $12/night for primitive. Central dump and potable water.

Typical view of the large electric sites
View down the loop with electric sites (we’re site #1 on the left)
One of the narrower sites in primitive section. We’d be OK getting in here, but some people might cringe a bit w/ a big-rig.
Fire-pit and picnic table at each site
Another view showing separation and privacy in the campground
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. Leo Murray says

    Hi Nina,

    As you know, Lauren yesterday gave me your website address. Since then until now I’ve been thoroughly enjoying reading about your travels. My folks are great RVers, too ……. for over 30 years. They’re now at Mt Rushmore so I sent them your SD blogs.

    Elaine and I are off Saturday to Shanghai ……. to see Expo (and more). It’s been nine years since we were last in Shanghai.

    Keep well.


    • libertatemamo says

      Leo, lovely to see you on the blog! And cheers for sending it on. If your parents are ever near on their many travels I’d love to meet them on the road. Enjoy your trip to Shanghai. Nina

  2. Blas says

    So much of what you described is what my wife and I look for in a campground. The hiking, dog friendly, spacious campsites etc.. Just want to say thank you for the info. Far easier to have read your info and seen your pics than the numerous websites and links I have visited regarding the Shawnee National Forest. I have been looking at this place since last summer (2012).
    We travel in a class A. Long wknds and a couple longer stays are what we hope to do this year before winter. Starting point is Indiana. Any other places you can suggest for traveling the Midwest would be much appreciated.

    B. Rodriguez

    • libertatemamo says

      Most of our Midwest traveling was done in our first year on the road 2010. You can see every spot we stayed at, plus links to campground reviews and posts on our travel map for that year (look in the “journey” tab and scroll to the bottom). We really enjoyed the COE campgrounds in the Midwest. Always by water, usually very spacious and dog-friendly to boot. Not all have hiking trails, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.
      Hope that gives you some ideas!


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