There are so many beautiful hikes in and around the Shawnee National Forest, that we had to
narrow this page down to our favorites. As you can see our cabins are very centrally located to ALL the great hikes in
Southern Illinois. For ease of planning, we have grouped them by direction from our
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.
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 by the shape of the volcano from the air.
Upon entering the impressive 55 foot wide mouth of the cavern, one will stand in awe of the 100 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.
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.
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).
Heron Pond, located near Belknap, 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.
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, a well, and a 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.
This is the largest sandstone cave in North America and was used by members of the
Underground Railroad as a shelter. Full of many crazy, natural rock formations, it would be
an interesting hike indeed.
At a 35 foot drop, Burden Falls seems small, but it's not just the waterfall that has you
coming back, it's also the surrounding boulders, rocks, and a U-shaped canyon that create
patterns and blend with the Falls. A photographers heaven, it offers multiple angles to shoot the perfect photo.
This is a great area for avid rock climbers as it offers a surplus of 60 foot sandstone bluffs
with many named climbing routes. This area also features gorgeous hiking trails full of
protected plants and endangered species in the forest.
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.
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.