The Best Places for a Hiking Adventure in Southern Illinois
The next time you’re looking for a hiking adventure, visit the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. The Shawnee National Forest offers a wide variety of hiking trails with interesting rock formations, waterfalls, and lakes, and the winding wooded trails are perfect for a great hiking experience. Along with hiking, there are many other recreational opportunities here, such as; fishing, hunting, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, kayaking, and more.
The Shawnee National Forest offers these great hikes; The Garden of the Gods, Ferne Clyffe, Millstone Bluff, Little Grand Canyon, Cave in Rock, Heron Pond, and Pomona Natural Bridge.
Garden of the Gods covers 3,300 acres of forest in southern Illinois counties and consists of 5.5 miles of interconnected trails located near Harrisburg, Illinois. Large sandstone pillars create this Garden of the Gods and its breathtaking views.
Ferne Clyffe State Park offers hikers 18 different trails to choose from, including a picturesque view of the lake from the cliffs, impressive rock formations, and a waterfall. Ferne Clyffe is located near Goreville, Illinois.
Millstone Bluff is an ancient Indian town that was used by the Woodland and Mississipian Indians. It is a 3/4 mile trail to the archaeological site, located high on a cliff near Glendale, Illinois.
Little Grand Canyon offers a 365-foot climb from the canyon floor with scenic views and a 3.6-mile hike near Murphsboro, Illinois; Cave in Rock is located near Marion, Illinois, and offers hiking trails and an impressive 55-foot-wide cavern that was carved out by winds and water. The cave borders the Ohio River.
Heron Pond is a nice little hike with beautiful wetland scenery and wildlife. There is a picturesque bridge where two streams converge with a beautiful sound of water rushing over the rocks below. Heron Pond is located near Belnap, Illinois.
Pamona Natural Bridge located in Pamona, Illinois. A short hike, only about 1/3 of a mile. The bridge is 90 feet long and 8 feet wide at its widest point, with a stream just below.
As you can see, the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois has many hiking opportunities for all levels of hiking experience, whether you need an easy or more difficult hike, you are sure to find it with its wide range of hiking trails.
You will enjoy the beautiful picturesque views, the wildlife you will discover, the history of the land and much more. Fall is an especially beautiful time to enjoy these hikes, with the cooler weather and majestic fall colors the views can be spectacular. I suggest going early to mid October to enjoy the fall color.
Whatever time of year you decide to go, it will definitely be worth the effort. So spend the day a little closer to nature and go for a great hike.