Explore Do soon - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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trail running
5 days ago

I ran just over 19 miles of this segment of the trail. Not the most exciting, but it is flat and offers a mix of small town and rural scenery with a couple views of the river.

Very beautiful and shaded. There were a lot of dirt trails that went all over the place and were hard to follow. The main path was paved.

This park is great for easy bike riding ! Beautiful and interesting! There’s even soft drink vending and rest rooms

hiking
10 days ago

Very overgrown with lots of trees across the trail. Only 1 tick despite the underbrush. Some truly beautiful areas. Came across only one other family.

I took my 4 year old in early spring. We loved it! Climbing down the creek bed is difficult so take your time. Beautiful views once you get down the the bottom. Overall nice trail to bring young children or fur babies.

Did it twice, once in each direction! Not too buggy, rocks are (not surprisingly) slick in the shade but easy enough to keep your feet dry.

Easy hike. Elevation gains were very short or very gradual. No rivers or bluffs. Nice trees. no flowers in July. Hike got confusing as it crossed many other paths. Having a map was very helpful.

hiking
19 days ago

The trail itself is a little bit boring and nowhere near hard. I know the trail is rated as hard, but it is easy to moderate at its best. I would have given it 5 stars if there would have been water in the river. It was very dry so it wasn’t so beautiful. 3 stars isn’t really what I wanted either, but it won’t allow me to do 3,5. If you are afraid of spiders, now is not the time to hike this trail as there are spiderwebs all over the place. I almost turned around after constantly getting webs in my face. I eventually walked with a stick to destroy all the webs. I went off trail at one point to walk along the dry riverbed and to do some rock climbing. That made it much more exiting. I combined this trail with the natural bridge and the white trail. 5 miles in total.

Loved our mid-summer hike. Was steeper and more difficult than we expected but are definitely going back in the fall. It’s amazing that this beautiful area is tucked away here in the Midwest. Wear good hikers and bug spray for the valleys.

hiking
22 days ago

The trail is a great way to see the beautiful canyon! Some of the creek bed can be rather steep and slippery so be sure to wear the appropriate footwear. Once you descend into the canyon the mosquitoes do get a little bit bothersome so remember the bug spray.

Always a great trail.

hiking
24 days ago

This trail would’ve been fantastic if there wasn’t a spider web every 5 feet we had to go through!!

You know there are a few neg reviews...., but what it’s worth, it’s all opinion. I my self have been here twice once during a red flag day and once on the yellow flag. Some reviews are right if it’s during the “swim” season, then it’s probably not going to be as beautiful because there are a ton of people swimming through the natural slides of shit ins. However during the rainy or off season this park is gorgeous! Roaring waters, the smell of spruce and pine, greenish blue waters, a waterfall, traverse landscape...... I totally loved the shut ins during the red flag day. It was before the stores opened and tourist flooded it. We were one of about three couples there and it was peaceful and beautiful. I agree it should probably be rated a mild moderate. Probably not to good for kids in some places, but with a watchful eye should be ok.

This trail should definitely be marked as moderate. There are multiple steep and rocky inclines and a few drop offs. I would not recommended this trail for children. Also towards the end of the loop the trail split into 2 paths with neither of them heading back the correct way. Not my favorite trail by far.

Easy trail for small children. Playgrounds and Restrooms are available. Good for kids and pets.

What a great app indispensable out in the Shawnee. Simply pick a trail and it links up with googl to get you there!

Favorite place EVER. My family has been vacationing here since I was a baby and we love it. Camping at the state park is really nice. The shut-ins are just a few minutes drive from the campground and are amazing. There is nothing like them, even with the post-flood damage. There are also great trails at the shut ins for hiking. Elephant Rocks is only about a 20 minute drive from the shut ins and is also excellent.

trail running
1 month ago

Definitely run this trail in the winter up to early spring or be sure to wear pants. The majority of the trail is narrow and has foliage growing over the path. I wore my very short running shorts and a tank top and ended up with some pretty raw legs. I had 8 or more ticks from the hour and half it took to run it but that was to be expected. If give it a 5 star rating for hikers and 4 for runners.

Good beginner hikes. Some elevation change but not difficult. Light traffic for a Saturday morning. Clearly marked. Lots of shade on this wooded trail.

hiking
1 month ago

This a spectacular trail that starts off with an easy rock path that doesn’t have that trail feel. Just wait, it gets better! Nice ridge paths and you have to climb up and down some pretty slippery river beds. Beware if you bring a dog, make sure you can lift them. Some parts of path they will need help. When you get in the canyon, be prepared, bring some good mosquito spray.
There is a nice mix of gravel, dirt with a dash of mud and sandstone. Great for all ages. Kids would love this trail. To things to remember, water and keep kids on trail. Copperheads and rattlesnakes are off trail and can be aggressive. Enjoy!!

I would say 3.5 stars. Decent loop. Trail is sand and mud with .5 of the loop a narrow path with some erosion, mostly in trees and shaded. Fitbit said 9 floors climbed, only a bit up and down. Facilities include running water, a restaurant, a winery/bait shop - nice people. There are additional trails besides the loop.

Here’s the good, bad & ugly of it... For starters I’d rate this trail as borderline moderate/difficult due to it being a very challenging trail and a bit technical with a lot of large rock to climb up/down plus a lot of rock scrambles to maneuver across - wear boots & pants - the poison ivy is thick in areas and the trail always seems to narrow where there’s ivy but bring swim trunks & water shoes to cool off in the clear cool Black River on your hike. There’s an impressive waterfall if you hike after a rain and a few small stream crossings too. I’d rather have hiked this during an off season due to the mass of people enjoying the actual shut-ins, it just takes away from being out in nature when you hear a crowd on part of your hike. There are a couple areas that are just beautiful but all in all there’s not much to look at. I lost the trail 3 or 4 times due to a lack of markers but this app always helps gets me back on track. I would suggest beginning your day when the park opens at 8am to view and enjoy the shut-ins before they’re dotted with bodies and noise. I probably wouldn’t hike this trail again, not enough bang for your buck but I’m glad I hiked it anyway.

My favorite trail in the Shawnee National forest. Beautiful views at the overlook. Don't be afraid to venture past the posts at the overlook and climb down onto the bluff. It is a view that is difficult to beat. Once you follow the trail down into the bottoms the atmosphere of the trail changes but is just as beautiful as the upper area. Certain parts of the decent are very mossy and slippery. Many people bring dogs to the trail but be aware that there are certain areas where you will have to lift your dog. Bug spray is a must especially during the summer season. Many ticks after most visits. Coming after a rain will provide flowing water views and some slight water crossings.
The ascent of the trail is exhausting. The views are completely worth it but be sure to pack lots of water.
The best time I have had on this trail is in the late fall when the leaves are beginning to fall. More opportunities for visibility

on Bluff Creek Trail

walking
1 month ago

Cool trail, lots of different paths. Shaded the entire way.

This trail was spectacular! Well marked and great scenic views. Although, you have to hike the full loop to enjoy the views but it is worth it.

Mediocrity. Flat marshlands. The herons are nice to look at and the lake view is stunning but the trail itself is average at best.

hiking
2 months ago

Good trails, cool scenery, many places to stop and cool off in the river. Didn't see any snakes, and bugs weren't too bad for me, doesn't mean they aren't there though, I jusr got lucky prob. Had conversations with the park staff and they are very friendly and helpful.

This was a very beautiful hike, although one that has some issues. I believe it's closer to the 12 miles that the entrance signs say versus the 10.7.

We took two dogs with us, and if you are going to do this make sure they have plenty of tick repellant. Ticks are very bad this year and we picked at least 150 off of each dog, and that's not an exaggeration. Make sure you have your own repellant too, as we found a ton on ourselves.

The terrain on this trail is back and forth. A lot of gravel, mud, rock, and road. Make sure you have very good hiking shoes. Your feet will thank you for it. It is also a lot of unnecessary up hill and woodsy treks ...this will probably make you angry as it did us because the trail would take you through the woods for a second just to put you in the same field later on. Be prepared to question a lot. I would not recommend going a day after it rains (which is what we did), give the trail time to harden back up, otherwise expect a ton of mud.

The trail has very good markers in some places and very poor marking in others. I think we back tracked at least 5 times because we lost track of the markers. Pulled up the map a few times as well. Just don't lose sight of them... They are also down in a few places where trees have fell.

If you like trails that have a lot of creek bed action, this is one for you. It is very beautiful. I think all in all it took us about 7 hours with two dogs and multiple stops of about 10-20 minutes each. A lot of nice little areas to stop off and eat your packed lunch as well. Pack extra water, you are gonna need it.

Took a detour on this while passing through. Definitely a neat little trail.

I love these two trails. Both are loops and allow you to go straight from one to the next if you want to keep hiking. Dogwood is much more difficult than woodbine. I recommend good foot wear as the trails can be quite rough. Trails are almost entirely wooded.

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