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

southern ill Map
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The view is Amazing!

I absolutely love hiking here, but the people are absolute slobs. I’ve been going here since I was a kid and I brought my kids there yesterday and they were quite upset about the MASSIVE amount of garbage everywhere. They need to implement some serious litter prevention. Ban all disposable water bottles being the first, I’ve never seen so much trash at a park like this. It’s depressing.

I really wanted to enjoy this trip with my family. I took my two kids (3 and 8) and while it was great to get them out into the woods. The trail was more of a deer path than a family friendly trail. I’m going to go and hike it on my own. But it is certainly not kid appropriate.

hiking
8 days ago

Path is well maintained around top loop, and is what you would expect from an easy walk in the woods. When you reach the staircase that takes you down to the ox-lot cave the landscape drastically changes. There are extraordinary rock formations, sheer cliffs, and exciting small caves. You could spend an hour in this area alone exploring all the rock formations. Overall the loop took us 1.5 hours with lots of exploring.

I was pleasantly surprised with Starved Rock. It is awesome that all of the trails connect and you can decide what paths to take and loop all over. The canyons were sweet and picturesque.
It was an absolute zoo when we finished at 11am. Totally nuts. Would recommend getting there as early as possible to avoid crowds. We got there at 8am.
Do go hike, it's the best the area has to offer.

Nice easy trail with great views and rock formations. Worth a look if in the area.

Same as everyone else has stated, the trek down can be rugged and boring, but the ending is worth it.

Steep stair climb at first. Looks like folks get to the west lookouts for the good views then turnaround and head back down. After the west view the trail was very overgrown to where you couldn’t see it. So we turned around and went back down. We might revisit another time of year.

Not surprising that this is a big draw for visitors, beautiful vistas for very little work! Fun scrambling on the rocks, good late afternoon cap on a day of more intense hiking.

Very cool hike, learned a thing or two from the signs too.

Beautiful area to explore. Definitely bigger than I was expecting! You’re welcome to climb on the rocks as much as you want which added for extra entertainment. Could’ve spent hours just sitting and taking in the view

Awesome trail! Going back soon to explore more of the park. Beautiful views, beautiful waterfalls and an excellent place to explore. Can't wait to go back!

hiking
25 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.

Absolutely amazing views!

That place is so beautiful I loved

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

make sure to follow the white squares with blue "i"s, especially the first one - it's in the second electric post as soon as you start

Nice hike in. Had trouble picking the trail back up once I reached the river.

cool rock formations

Well marked trail. LOTS of fairly steep uphill climbs on this one. It was pretty muddy so the trail was rugged in many spots where you had to almost straddle the path to get footing. Beautiful spot on the lake on rock causeway. Not sure I would've ridden a horse on this trail that day due to muddy conditions, but several equestrians had in the day or two prior to our visit. If you are a beginner just know that this trail has some pretty steep ascents and with it being an out and back trail, you're going to have to come back down eventually. Please take a walking stick or trek pole to aid you especially if it's muddy.

Beautiful place to lose yourself in nature!

hiking
2 months ago

An easy walk along a very thin trail. Took my two boys (8 and 12) and walked straight to the arch. We wandered around for a while trying to find a way to actually get on top, but didn’t want to wander through all of the undergrowth.

Wouldn’t really consider this hiking, most trails are built into the landscape with wooden platforms and stairs. It’s a nice shady hike though that is not very challenging. There are some good spots for scenery and photos. Also lots of trash throughout, people need to learn to pick up after themselves.

Beautiful scenery!

Never disappointed! Beautiful!

Canyons, waterfalls, sand dune, streams and River. This trail has everything! Its not very challenging but very scenic and much of trails are covered with tall trees. Makes for nice cool trail running during warmer month. At first , a good chunk of trails seems over made with wood and concrete but I believe those are necessary for masses to safely enjoy canyons and water falls. After while, its not that obtrusive.
Overall great place to hike and enjoy.

on Mantle Rock Trail

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome place just bring plenty of tick repellent if you hike it in warm weather.

The hike to the creek is a little rough and somewhat boring. The trail would be pretty easy, but it is torn up and extremely muddy from the horses. Wear boots and bring an extra pair of shoes for the ride home unless you want your car to be a complete disaster and smell like horse poop.
The views of the canyon and the water make the trip totally worth it! Be sure to use the app while hiking to make sure you stay on the correct trail!

Nice trail. The trailhead rates it as moderate to difficult, but I would say moderate is a fair assessment with quite a bit of up and down. It was raining when we started and so was pretty muddy and poison ivy is all over the sides of the trail. A lot of wild life, including turtles, frogs, lizards, cray fish, deer, several species of dragonflies as well as a poisonous snake in the brush when the trail takes you over the lake. Was there for 4 nights over Memorial Day weekend and only saw a hand full of other groups. Overall a great time.

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