Exploring Dixon Springs State Park

By Sarah Niebrugge, @SNiebrugge_DE l Daily Egyptian

This week once again started with a hiking trip that did not work out.

Our first stop was Heron Pond, but when we walked to the head of the Todd Fink-Heron Pond Trail right outside Vienna, the entire walkway was flooded and held no chance of a successful adventure.

The trail starts with a bridge over the Cache River and leads to a floating boardwalk over Heron Pond. The amount of rainfall we have had in this area lately flooded the trail and boardwalk.


The next spot on our trip was Dixon Springs State Park in Golconda, located in Shawnee National Forest.

The area was beautiful to say the least. Cabins were scattered around the wooded area and stone formations lined the creek following the road.

Chuck Hughes, a park ranger for the Department of Natural Resources, said the cabins are used for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and church groups.

“People tell us how peaceful and beautiful the park is,” Hughes said. “The community members that visit are great about picking up after themselves and keeping the park beautiful.”

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The park has a class B camping area, meaning it has electricity and is vehicle accessible. There are also 10 primitive camping sites. Campsites with electricity and vehicular access are $14 per day while primitive and tent campsites are $6 per day.

Youth group camping is $2 a day per person with a $20 minimum and organized adult groups are $4 a day per person with a $40 minimum. 


All reservations must be made seven days in advance of arrival with a $5 fee, according to the Department of Natural Resources website. The fee is refundable if the reservation is cancelled three days before it is scheduled.

The park, opened in 1943, also has a public pool for visitors to cool off in. The pool was opened in 1956 and had its last renovation in 1985, funded by the state.

Jay Holland and I skipped the pool however, and went straight to climb on the rock formations.

We parked by a few of the cabins and found ourselves next to a small wooden bridge built over a short waterfall flowing off of a tall rock dam. Though not as enthralling as other parks in the area such as Garden of the Gods, it was a pretty view.

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The rest of our time was spent walking around the cabins and climbing on the rocky terrain.

Unfortunately, the day we made our trip, we did not find anyone else in the same area, but from past experience, Holland said sometimes there are people all over the park.

There is so much more to do in this park than just hiking. Hughes said the park is perfect for hiking, picnicking and day trips.

The Department of Natural Resources listed the park to have two hiking trails, two basketball courts, three horseshoe pits, two volleyball courts and an archery range.

I found the park to be a place children would really enjoy because of the pool, jungle gym and hiking.

Dixon Springs State Park was a great place to visit. Though not my favorite spot we have been to, it held a lot of interesting activities.