Pyramid State Recreation Area consists of forested hills, lakes and ponds. Southern Illinois University owned and used 924 acres of the site for research, transferring the land to the state in 1968 for a State Recreation Area. Additional land acquisition, including acquisition of the Arch Mineral Properties and the purchase of the 520-acre satellite area known as Campbell Pond, brought the total overall acreage to 19,701. Pyramid SRA is the largest IDNR-managed site 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 offer outstanding fishing opportunities. The largest lake on the property, known as Super Lake, is located on 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.
Picnic areas are numerous but small due to the terrain. Picnic tables and charcoal grills are available, and there is one picnic shelter. Pit toilets are located throughout the area.
There are 16.5 miles of foot, horse and mountain bike trails.
Tent and trailer camping are permitted at designated camping areas only. There are three Class C camping areas, Class D hike-in campsites, a small equestrian camp and a youth group camping area. Water and a trailer dump station are available near the site office. There are no electrical hookups in the camping areas.
Anglers will find that largemouth bass and bluegill are the predominant species. Lost Lake (a hike-in lake) and some of the other lakes contain a hybrid of green sunfish/bluegill. Redear and channel catfish are present in some lakes.
Canoeing is popular at Pyramid SRA because of the rough terrain, and boats with 10-hp motors or less are allowed. Boat launches are available at some of the larger lakes.
While waterfowl hunting is not permitted on the original section of Pyramid, however, it is allowed at the Arch Mineral Property known as Galum, Captain and Denmark units. In addition, deer and upland game hunting are offered on this area. Check for site-specific information. The area is a managed quality hunting area, which means bucks must have a minimum of 4 points on one side to be taken. Upland game hunting is by drawing, and a free upland game application must be submitted by mail to the IDNR Springfield office.