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Reviews for Bay Creek Ranch, Inc.
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Harrisburg, IL

Overall TRAIL RATING with 16 votes:
Overall CAMP RATING with 15 votes:

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Individual Reviews

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We had a fantastic time at Bay Creek. Good stalls, decent turn-out (fence a bit rickety but serviceable), great level site. Chuck and Linda are very helpful and friendly. I was here in Sept and liked it so much that we came back a month later. Trails are well marked and WONDERFUL.
Reviewed by: Pale Dry Pete on 11/11/2014 5:04:16 PM
More reviews by Pale Dry Pete
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 11/6/2014 Hometown: southeastern , IN

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Horse riders beware.....mountain bikers are frequenting the trails here, even though it's prohibited, and there are reports of equestrians being seriously injured. Shawnee National Forest Headquarters phone number is 618-253-7114.
Reviewed by: e4ta on 10/6/2014 10:42:29 AM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 10/4/2014 Hometown: Crossville, IL

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I am usually not a negative person, but have been camping at Double M, Bear Branch, and High knob in Shawnee forest. Our reason for staying at Bay Creek were because the other places were booked when we wanted to go. All I can say is Rude, Rude, Rude! We were there with our family which included two children ages 4 and 6, and even they remember the place with the mean lady that yelled at us! We were never intentionally doing anything wrong, but ended up getting in the owners grass trying to get out of a trailers way leaving. We immediately had a golf cart behind us (the owner), say very rudely "did you have to get on my lawn!" When we explained we were only moving over out of the way with our young kids, mind you, we were met with another smart a@# response, that the trailer could wait. We were also quickly corralled by the golf cart when we road with our kids in the open field across the street. This is private property you have to get off! While we were trying to get our kids back on the right horse to leave, she came back and said You have to leave, now I am not kidding!" Again, we told her we were leaving but getting our kids situated she muttered other unpleasantries and rode off. The field was not marked as private property. The place is for sale, so maybe new owners would make the difference, but evidently Chuck and Linda have run out of niceness! I will never be back while they are the owners!
Reviewed by: Julie Thorpe Gray on 2/4/2014 10:14:50 AM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 9/15/2013 Hometown: ,

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I have been riding at Bay Creek for about 5 yrs now and have been a permanent camper for 3 yrs. I am very blessed to be close to several other campgrounds as well, but Bay Creek to me is the very best!! Chuck and Linda go out of their way to make your stay everything and more you'd want it to be, from getting you a bag of ice to taking you to get a tire fixed, muffler or out to eat if you just need a friend. I can't say how blessed I am to have found Bay Creek, it's my home away from home! The trails are great and I'm always finding one I haven't seen! It's always an adventure! The people I meet there are always so nice and welcoming, just like old friends. I've ridden all over the Shawnee and it's all beautiful and every campground has something to offer, but to me, Bay Creek and Linda and Chuck are my favorite and it's a little bit of heaven to escape there in this crazy world. You can always count on it being all mowed, very clean shower houses, and being accomadated to anything you need. I only wish I could get down there more often, I love it! It's especially special when I have the opportunity to share it with my friends from Iowa, and local. My husband loves to cook, so he handles that and we get beautiful rides and come home to a delicious meal!! Doesn't get any better!!!
Reviewed by: Patty on 10/25/2012 6:17:29 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 10/6/2012 Hometown: Ridgway, IL

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We have enjoyed Bay Creek Camp ground for 5 years now-LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!! Chuck and Linda run a clean and friendly camp. The shower house is always immaculate, even with the crowds, stalls are very nice, pens are available (we always reserve pens) also tie lines are at each campsite so you can keep a close eye on your horses. We have ridden many places-but the riding in this area is by far the most beautiful. Access to the trails are right at the end of campground and just across the road. The trails are very well marked and the maps are great! I cant wait to get back there. If you are lucky enough to get to go there, Dont miss Jackson Falls and Peters Cave, they are spectacular.
Reviewed by: Sharman Handling on 10/22/2012 9:26:31 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 10/6/2012 Hometown: Drakesville, IA

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took a week to go to different campgrounds. this was a great place to ride. I also loved the riding at High Knob. both places are a MUST for any lover of great trails in the shawnee forest!!!!!!!
Reviewed by: Lynn on 11/13/2011 10:15:55 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 10/30/2011 Hometown: pawnee, IL

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This is my second trip to Shawnee Nat'l Forest (first to Little Lusk). Bay Creek campground was an excellent choice. The owner's, Chuck and Linda, were available at any given moment. I have never seen such "hands-on" campground owners. They came by several times to see if there was anything we needed. They provided maps and even gps coordinates. The trails are VERY WELL MARKED. The map needs some updating and I think it would help to extend the area that the map covers. We went to a wonderful site that was not on the map. Fortunately we met a great group of women that took us out on two spectacular rides: Peter's Cave and Jackson Falls. My boyfriend and I also really enjoyed Salt Cave and Maxwell Ford. Jackson Falls was very technical and very beautiful. This was our favorite ride. Long stretches of scenery and lots of climbers/repellers. Will definitely be going back to Bay Creek. Probably one of the prettiest rides we have ever done!
Reviewed by: Molly on 5/21/2011 10:05:42 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 5/20/2011 Hometown: Little Rock, AR

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We stayed a few nights with Linda and Chuck at their beautiful campground. They are very nice people and work hard to make your stay pleasant. Chuck had wood in our fire ring and a hose ready to go for us when we arrived. The campground is impeccably clean and very pretty. It's very easy for the largest of rigs to move around in. We very much enjoyed our stay with them. I only rated it at 4 stars as Chuck is continuing to work on improvements but it is a very nice place. We enjoyed the trails in the area but one in particular was horrible with holes in the trail that were on the dangerous side, in my opinion. The trail was a rocky one but the muddy sections over the rocks left holes that a horse could easily stick it's foot into and were nearly unavoidable. I'm sure there is more here to see as we only stayed at this campground for a few days and then moved to another to see a different section. The trails in the Shawnee are not marked very well so I would highly recommend carrying a GPS and understand how to use it. The map is not very great either. Linda is working on updating their personal maps as the trail system was just re-marked and they are working on making the markers more easy to see and follow. These trails are not for the unfit or faint of heart but they are fun for the most part (all but the one hole filled section). I wish this campground was in an area that was prettier as we moved and rode in the Lusk Creek area and Wilderness and the trails there were much better. They were constructed better and the scenery was better. If you plan to go to the Shawnee for the first time, I would recommend staying in different places so you can get a nice overview of the area. The Wilderness we rode was absolutely beautiful but was closed when we were there until our last day. Be prepared, if you go in the off season or if they have more than an inch of rain, they close the wilderness areas. We only were able to get one day in on those trails and they were the most scenic.
Reviewed by: Tammy on 4/7/2011 5:45:40 PM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 3/27/2011 Hometown: Brooksville, FL

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Our group of about 14+ have been going to Bay Creek Ranch for over 10 years. Each year it gets better. The trails are beautiful and just "out the back door" of your campsite. I've stayed in the lodge and at campsites - loved them both. The lodge is large and will accomadate a large group. You may not know everyone in the lodge at the beginning, but by the end of the week, your all family. The campsites have water and electric and high lines for your horses. Chuck and Linda, as usual, go out of their way to make sure we have a great time..arranging wood for our campfire or helping us get an outside line (cell phones don't work very well) to call our vet at home and get meds for our dog(s). This year was exceptionally beautiful at Bay Creek. The peak colors of fall were all around us. OOO sure there have been weeks when it rained, most of the week...but a true horseman will ride (being mindful of safety for self and horse). Plus you are within a short distance of a wonderful winery - Hogg Hollow Winery, Steve Hogg is a most gracious host and his wines are the best. Then there is the Chocolate Factory a short drive to Dixon Springs.. and the gambling boat in Metropolis - go superman!.. and Paducah is just "down the road" a piece...Can't say enough about Bay Creek Ranch. I count the days to my next visit. Go Chuck and Linda...you are the best hosts!!
Reviewed by: Betsy Faitz on 10/26/2010 5:19:53 PM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 10/10/2010 Hometown: Grayslake, IL

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Trails are wonderful, very scenic with rock bluffs, canyons, a lake, and creeks, The new trails finished last fall are just great. More new trails were being constructed during our stay. Campground has a park-like feel, and is very well maintained. Showerhouse is kept clean, with plenty of hot water. Owners, Chuck and Linda Kesul make you feel at home. The other campers we met there, were friendly and helpful. It is a family-friendly camp. The trails are well marked, and the Bay Creek Ranch trail map shows more detail, than the United States Forest Service map, and is color-coded. We can't wait to go back, and we'll bring friends too.
Reviewed by: Cathy W. on 10/21/2010 7:10:37 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 10/10/2010 Hometown: Beecher, IL

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I have been to Bay Creek about 3 times now and its always been a great stay. The campground is very clean and quiet with choice of pens, stalls or tie lines. The shower house is the best by far with super hot water and always clean. The trail head is just at the edge of camp and the trails range from challenging with wonderful rock formations to gradual slopes and sandy footing along the River to River. Trails are well marked for new comers and the owners will answer any questions you have about choosing a trail without hesitation. They appriciate calling ahead but don't mind folks just showing up either. Nice place for some quiet time with your horses.
Reviewed by: Sheila McPeak on 8/22/2010 7:44:39 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 8/18/2010 Hometown: Louisville, IL

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Having visited multiple states and campgrounds which specifically accommodate horses and riders We will highly recommend Bay Creek Ranch located in the beautiful Shawnee National Forest. The trails are absolutely some of the best trails we have ridden in the United States. The accommodations we have found at Bay Creek have been some of the best experiences we have had. The folks that operate the grounds are not only friendly but go out of their way to make sure everyone is enjoying the experience. The campgrounds are well kept and the trails are immediately accessible from the grounds themselves. You have your choice of stalls, outdoor pens, covered stalls or picket lines for the horses. We cant say enough great things about the area and the campgrounds! Definately a must for us trail riders. We are headed back for the fall. Awesome trip check it out.
Reviewed by: Ted and Linda Sittig on 8/19/2010 8:22:17 PM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 8/2/2010 Hometown: Beach Park, IL

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Having thirty years of trail riding experience I am a "been there done that" rider with enjoyable rides all over the Midwest. Bay Creek Ranch is definitely one of the premier horse campgrounds of Southern Illinois. There are many campgrounds to choose from in the area but Bay Creek is so well-run, the owners are friendly and helpful, the public showers and toilet facility are very nice and always clean and the grounds are superbly maintained. There is no better trail riding anywhere than from this campground with new trails being added continually and constant updating to the trail markers. It is an added benefit that the whole campground is quiet by 10 pm. Our horses love the fact that stalls and lots are available. We have always had a great experience every time we have stayed at Bay Creek Ranch.
Reviewed by: Bonnie Stanton on 7/7/2010 9:13:35 AM
Experience: Intermediate Ride Date: 5/15/2010 Hometown: Urbana, IL

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We had nothign but rain the whole time there. The trails were slippery, the campground was nice, we had no water the one day when the town shut it down. The stalls were nasty actually converted garage turned into 4 stalls and the big barn was just old and waiting for a firre to happen. Just not enough stalls. It needs to be under new management to be run correctly. The owners Linda (real nice person and great business head)and Chuck (constant complainer, smoker and very argumentative) has a real attitude that would turn the nicest person in the world to snap at him. the lodge is great for movies with a big TV and plenty of movies, but if you don't like the smell of cigerettes or have allergies to them or asthma then you may as well stay out of there. I had a headach and my clothes reeked of cigerettes and tht was jsut for a party that we had in there for a matter of an hour. I couldn't stand the smell anymore and my head was pounding. We will go back to Shawnee some day but NOT there. We paid for this year before we knew the place but we did get our money back which was real nice of HER. We left a day early because of him. Maybe if the weather was better we would have spent more time on the trails then around the campgrounds, but regardless. We won't go back there.
Reviewed by: Maggie on 5/17/2010 7:02:18 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 10/15/2009 Hometown: Kenosha, WI

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This is a very family friendly campsite that is well managed. Park Service just opened new trails across the road and they are fabulous. The riding is smooth and relaxed from both trail heads but with plenty of scenic areas and and destinations within a couple hours ride. Trails signs match the maps and the owners will spend as much time with you as needed to describe the trails. We go trail riding to ride and relax, not to party all night, this is not the place if that is what you want go somewhere else.
Reviewed by: Matt & Bonnie Stanton on 4/5/2010 7:03:28 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 10/15/2009 Hometown: Champaign, IL

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Loved it... the only possible way to make it better is to make more sights and stalls. I hope you add on because I'm telling everyone go to southern Illinois it's terrific!!!
Reviewed by: Anita Coffman on 10/29/2009 8:57:29 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 10/15/2009 Hometown: Gray, TN

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This is our first trip to Bay Creek Ranch and felt that the riding could have been great other than they had about 3 inches of rain right before we came and had to also cut our stay short because of more rain. Really enjoyed their lounge with the big screen TV and plenty of videos to watch also. It was great to go in there and get warmed up. Plenty of gorgeous scenery when you ride in Shawnee as we have stayed at other campgrounds there also. It would have been nice if they had more stalls but the restrooms and campground was very clean. They have immediate access to the trails. Plan to go next year but will call way in advance to reserve a stall.
Reviewed by: Sue on 10/16/2009 11:57:21 AM
Experience: Expert Ride Date: 10/11/2009 Hometown: Milford, OH