Pyramid State Recreation Area consists of heavily forested hills and many lakes and ponds. Southern Illinois University owned and used 924 acres for research, transferring the land to the state in 1968 for a State Recreation Area. Additional land acquisition, and the latest acquisition of the Arch Mineral Properties, and the purchase of the 520 acre Satellite area known as Campbell Pond bringing the total overall acreage to 19,701, making Pyramid the largest State Recreation Area in Illinois. The name derives from a coal mine that once existed here.
More than 500 acres of water form lakes varying in size from 0.1 acres to 276 acres. The largest lake on the property, known as Super Lake, is located on the Arch and known as the Captain Unit. Most of the lakes on the original Pyramid Site were created prior to 1950. Since many of the lakes can be reached only by foot, Pyramid affords an opportunity for the angler to get away from crowds.