hiking
19 days ago

In a word, BEAUTIFUL. So much to see here. The rock formations and overhangs are stunning with the striation of colors throughout. A few little caves and tunnels are worth exploring as well so take a flashlight/headlamp and plan to take your time on this trail. It's not well marked and the cell service is spotty at best. Don't rely on a trail app on your cell because you may find yourself just wandering aimlessly. This is one of my favorites and it's one that I will return to every season just to see the changes. Although it's short, plan to spend the day or at least half of a day just exploring. I'd give it 10 stars if I could!

hiking
1 month ago

Super hike, beautiful and lush greenery, amazing rock formations. I'll be damned if I could stay on the path, though, even with the GPS and map.

hiking
3 months ago

The Panther Den Loop was a great hike and the weather was perfect. The markings are not easily found. I only got turned around 4 of 5 times. The only negative was the trail markings but the scenery and walk was spectacular. If its been raining the days before you go there are several water crossing you'll have to traverse .

hiking
3 months ago

Overall, it was great exploring, but recommend GPS and dry conditions. The creek was up from recent rain, making crossing a bit difficult. You needed to find alternate crossings or be ready to go through some water. The rock formations were great, and tons of fun to explore -- slot canyons, waterfall, huge stone rooms, a tunnel - bring a flashlight and spend some time wandering!
Trail markers were mediocre, there need to be more at the mid-section of the loop when it crosses the creek close to the lake. The trail begins to turn near the lake, up a small rocky ravine - it's not well marked.
The west half of the loop is deeply rutted from horse traffic and has fewer rock formations - in rainy conditions, the east half as an out-and-back may a good option. The path back to the trailhead on the west side has a quick switchback that can be easy to miss, as a "trail" seems to continue forward with some maintenance flags. Our GPS was approx 4 miles from the parking area. The road to the trailhead was a little rough and rutted and could be a little difficult for some cars.

hiking
3 months ago

A little wet after the recent rain but a great afternoon hike. Our GPS had 4.6 miles total with just a little bit of exploring the rock formations.

Don't attempt this trail if it has been raining a lot. The creek was not crossable. You will only be able to hike in about a mile. Also the trail is a lot longer than the 3.2 miles listed. I want to try again in dryer conditions.

camping
3 months ago

I went here at camp ondessonk for an overnight camp. We swam in the lake-it can get very deep but watch out for fallen logs! Great jumping rocks too! Several places to swim here

hiking
3 months ago

Pretty trail with some awesome rock formations. But as other reviews say marking was horrendous.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice Loop. Fun rock formations, couple creek crossings, good variety. The trail marking are poor. The first part is fine follow it across the creek and up the next hill, you will come to a marker telling you to turn left to the rock formations, take it left as indicated. (the trail straight forward is the river to river trail). I in a short distance down the hill you will come across the rock formation, take time to explore, then continue north, down the hill on the established trail, you will come to the creek again, cross it and stay on the established trail, (you may see a sign that says panther den with an arrow telling you to turn right, ignore it) following the creek, crossing it again, the trail heads up the hill to the left, which shortly heads back south towards the trail head, you will come to another intersection that says trail head left, take it left and will join the trail you came in on, turn right, and your about 1/4 mile from the parking lot.

The rock formations are worth the hike.

Easy trail to hike and has really beautiful creeks and bluffs along the route. I'd just use GPS to stay on the route because markings aren't the best.

hiking
4 months ago

The best part about this trail is the scenery, the views, and the variety of terrain. Just look at some of the pictures, it'll prove it to you. That said, this trail is horribly marked, seriously. Counted maybe 6 trail markers on trees, and that's for the whole trail. You need to follow some kind of map to finish it, or you will get lost and wander off. Also, it is very sloppy after a rain, so keep that in mind. Other than that it was one of the best trails I have ever hiked.

backpacking
4 months ago

Visited this trail on a nice Sunday morning. Trail was nicely marked and cleared. Gave 3 stars because we weren't able to find the rock structures and there were constant gun shots towards where the rocks were so we turned around and left.

hiking
4 months ago

It was super sloppy and my first time here but I've hiked all of Shawnee and this has quickly become my favorite area. it was so worth it.

hiking
4 months ago

Great day to hike. Lots to see and do. was with my son Phil. Seen lots of people on the trails

Found a great cave on this trail

hiking
7 months ago

Bring your GPS! Very poorly marked and confusing. There are lots of criss crossing trails and some places where you're not sure if you're on a dry river or a trail at all.

backpacking
8 months ago

For the first two miles my trekking pole was used as a machete to clear the unbelievable amount of spider webs at eye level. This trail used to merge with an equestrian trail, and even though it no longer does, some signage and blazes have not been updated and are very misleading. The trail features amazing rock formations and plenty of other views.

Amazing trail, great rock scrambling!

Awesome outdoor playground. the walls similar to giant city are even better here because there are more caves and passageways to explore and poke into and through.

the only issue was trail was not marked very well (well at least the '371' you have to follow).. just before and to the bluffs, the only sign of trail marking is only markings to the river to river trail.

we only made sense of our bearings only with my gps, which helped me find our way back.

other than that kids had a blast exploring and poking around the caves and slot canyons

Path is not marked very clearly and with the different turns you can take it would be very easy for someone that doesn't know the trail very good to get lost.

10 months ago

Had to turn around due to lack of markings. Path not clear with lots of intersections.

trail running
11 months ago

Good trail up to the primary rock formations. If you go clockwise, the turn off the river to river trail is hard to find. Look for the older style sign on a post. I'd recommend counter-clockwise. It would be easier.

Lots and lots of spider webs. Came home sticky with them even waving a stick.

Back half of the loop is slightly overgrown, but the foot path was clear enough. Guessing most people walk out to the rocks then turn around.

hiking
Monday, May 22, 2017

Beautiful rock formations and walk by the creek. Many trails to explore and get lost... App definitely helps (we didn't get lost)

hiking
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My girlfriend and I decided on an impromptu hike on a Saturday afternoon in early December. We started at the trail head on Panthers Den Ln at approx. 3 pm. We were able to make it to the den where we found amazing rock formations and passage ways. I've lived in Southern Illinois all my life. These are some of the best and most unique rock formations in our beautiful area. We had to turn around after exploring the panthers den due to lack of daylight, but we will be back soon to continue on.

rock climbing
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Got a tour from a friend of mine that works here and it was the most incredible hike and place
Wish I could live here

camping
Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Camped here many times love this place!

hiking
8 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

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