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Fort Defiance State Park

Fort Defiance State Park is on Cairo Point, the southernmost tip of Illinois in Alexander County near Cairo Illinois, bounded by either side by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Fort Defiance is also the lowest point in Illinois at 279 feet in elevation. The current of the two rivers stay separate for about a mile on down from where they meet, almost as if they balked at merging. Bridges lead to Kentucky over the Ohio River, and to Missouri over the Mississippi River.


Fort Defiance also more known as the "point" by most in the area is one of the largest confluences in the world, and is considered to the tenth most amazing confluences in the world according to World Geography. There are many who visit this site that go miles out of their way just so they can see the great confluence taking in the beauty of it all. Visitors also enjoy watching the river traffic with lines boats, and tugs always at work on the Ohio river. Visitors are able to enjoy a picnic while taking in the view from the large concrete observation building that over looks the point.


Fort Defiance is managed by the staff at Horseshoe Lake-Alexander State Fish and Wildlife Area. Please contact 618-776-5689 for more information.


Additional Information

  • While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
  • At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
  • Pets must be kept on leashes at all times.
  • Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
  • We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.







Park Information:

Southern Illinois

US-60 & US-62




Other Parks in Illinois:

Map of Illinois DNR Regions State Parks in Northwestern IllinoisState Parks in Northeastern IllinoisState Parks in East Central IllinoisState Parks in West Central IllinoisState Parks in Southern Illinois