Southern Illinois Hiking Attractions Near Willowbrook Cabins

Shawnee Forest Hiking

There are sooo many beautiful hikes in and around the Shawnee National Forest, that I had to narrow this page down to my favorites. Also, for ease of planning, we have grouped them by direction from our cabins. As you can see our cabins are very centrally located to ALL the great hikes in Southern Illinois.

North

Garden of the Gods - This is one of the most popular hikes in Illinois and has been nationally reconized for its breathtaking views! This is a short hike (.25 mile loop), that you get to drive right up to. A favorite spot for the photography buffs.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods
Pounds Hollow - Fantastic hikes (must do for hikers), swimming, fishing and other great summer day activities.
Rim Rock - Around the top of "the rim" is only .8 miles, extend your hike by taking the rock stairs at the observation deck found half way around "the rim".
Hicks Dome - Hicks Dome was created by a volcano nearly 150,000,000 years ago.  Although it never broke the surface, it caused the area to bulge up.  Pilots flying over this hill are amazed to the shape of the volcano from the air. 
  
East

One Horse Gap - One Horse Gap is a unique geological area. The rock formations remind me of a moon scape. Large areas are rounded and bare of vegetation.
Cave In Rock - Upon entering the impressive 55 foot wide mouth of the cavern, one will stand in awe of the one hundred foot vertical fissure leading to the top entrance.  In both the 1700s and 1800s, the cave was used as shelter for a wide variety of visitors because of the convenience the natural chimney provided.
Iron Furnace - Very interesting historical site of the first Iron Furnace in the state (1837) – yes it’s still there. Hiking trails, swimming and fishing too.
  
South

Millstone Bluff - An ancient Indian village site with petroglyphs! Hike is about 3/4 of mile and very scenic in the fall and early spring. Path is well marked and has wooden walkways at the site. Lots of informational boards and benches along the trail.
Trigg Tower - Getting to Trigg Tower is fairly easy and well signed along the roads. The stairs are fairly steep so watch your step. It looks daunting, but a smooth, steady pace goes by quickly (and bring some water up with you).
Dixon Springs - Great State park with modern swimming pool and other nice facilities. Great hikes with some bluffs and nice picnic areas, but the best part is its across the street from the The Chocolate Factory!
Heron Pond
Heron Pond
Heron Pond - Heron Pond, located near Belnap, Illinois, is a beautiful Designated Illinois Nature Preserve. My favorite thing about this trail is that you get to see so many different landscapes in such a short hike.
Fort Massac - The historic site is a replica of the 1802 American fort that was on site. The historic fort area contains 2 barracks, 3 block houses, officer quarters, well, stockade along with a fraise fence. The site also has the archaeological outline of the 1757 French Fort. There is also a visitors center/office complex along with an area for the museum.
  
West

Indian Kitchen/Luck Creek Wilderness - This is the largest wilderness area in the state of Illinois and is home to some of the best hiking trails in the tri-state area. Great summer and winter hike. 100 feet canyon walls!
Sand Cave - Great hike (1/2 mile back) to a cool cave.
Bell Smith Springs - Great summer hike in the Shawnee Forest. Bring your trunks and old shoes as there are plenty of places to cool off in the cool blue water.
Burden Falls - After a summer rain this becomes a must see with all the waterfalls!
Jackson Falls - A favorite for rock climbers, but awesome hikes.
Tunnel Hill Trail - Tunnel Hill State Trail stretches for 45 miles from Harrisburg to Karnak, with 2.5 miles being managed by the city of Harrisburg. The trail continues on a trails spur for 2.5 miles from Karnak to Cache River State Natural Area - Henry Barkhausen Wetlands Center on the old Chicago and Eastern Illinois railroad bed.
Ferne Clyffe - The hiking path is nicely coated with small brown rock and is wide enough to easily accommodate several hikers walking side by side. There is a very slight grade over the course of this .75 mile trail, but nothing to worry about. I would consider this path wheelchair and stroller friendly or as friendly as I have found in the Shawnee National Forest area.
  

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