Explore the most popular birding trails in Shawnee National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

We walked a little ways, in October, we did see some birds, but the gravel road was not really the walk we were looking for. Meeting 2 Cottonmouths (water moccasin) snakes in the gravel, scared us, we had 3 dogs with us! So we turned back. Not a good enough walk for us to go back again.

Awesome trail! Great mix on clear path and then forging up and done a trickling streams rock bottom. Rock had steps carved in to it to help with footing but the hike was still challenging. It was a GREAT hike!!

Great workout.

hiking
10 days ago

Short hike to a small cave in the bluff. Simple but average.

awesome trail, could use better markings.

Bug spray is a must! South side climb is deceptive, you think you're almost back to the trailhead but you've still half the trail to go. North side climb is much more straight forward, a single slope.

If you're coming from the north, Google will tell you to take 149 and Town Creek Rd to Hickory Ridge Rd, but it's far easier to take 127 to Etherton Rd to Poplar Ridge Rd.

Challenging! Little easy to get lost but just follow your white marks!

If starting at TH at bathrooms, you’ll go UP the rocky draw on the way out. Note, about 1/2 way up turn LEFT to stay on main trail. Straight is steep, not marked and way harder.

hiking
1 month ago

Me and my girlfriend are trying to plan a 4 day 3 over night possible trip and I would like to get about 20 to 30 miles with Garden of the Gods included. Does anyone have a good trail to go with?

The terrain type constantly varied throughout the trail, keeping us intrigued and on our toes. We enjoyed the constant change of scenery. It was a bit slippery on some of the rocks of the trail, granted it had recently rained. Overall, great trail!

hiking
1 month ago

Nicest part of the wooded trail behind Cape Girardeau’s Conservation center. Trail is newer asphalt and wooden bridges are in good shape. A lot of significant elevation changes for its short distance. Had connector to Cape LaCroix and the rest of the conservation trail. Great cardio workout. The only negative is that the trail is not wheelchair accessible.

One of my favorites of Shawnee. Definitely some tricky areas but not too bad if you aren't in a hurry. Beautiful landscape changes.

Loved this trail! We saw many varieties of mushrooms, frogs, insects, butterflies, etc. The only downside was the mosquitos in the lower section, looking forward to an early winter hike to avoid them. it can get slick and you should wear loose/stretchy shorts/pants to maneuver up and down. We did see a lot of people on this trail, it was a weekend day though.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is beautiful, even today when it’s bone dry and no falls. The rock overlooks are magnificent and if you go left when you get to the trail, just past the wooden bridge, you can scramble done the rockslide to get to the trails below. The rocks and formations and trees and butterflies!! Loved every moment!

one of my all time favorite places to hike.

hiking
1 month ago

We've hiked to High Knob from Garden of the Gods, I believe its part of the River to River trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Camped there with our scout group. Good times!

kids loved this natural wonder. watch for yellow jackets but otherwise a great time.

amazing first experience can't wait to go back

We hiked down the the falls in the shorter loop next to the road. Beautiful scenery, falls weren't too impressive, more of a trickle in early June despite the rain a few days earlier, but we expected that. The trails are not well marked, you need to either know the area or bring a GPS! We used this app (AllTrails) and were exceptionally glad we did or we would have gone in the wrong direction more than once. There is a faster way to get down to the falls than going all the way around to Helispot, and we took this way back up to our car. I suggest if you want to get to the bottom quickly, you do the following: (1) drive past the parking area/trailhead and park on the side of the road about half a mile down, coordinates 37.505523, -88.681285 (caution, road is pretty bumpy but can be managed) (2) hike down from the road approx 100ft to the trail and go left, (3) pass over a wooden bridge, (4) at GPS coordinates 37.504375, -88.681905 clamber down the boulder trail to the bottom of the bluff (there is a red emergency/first-aid staion @ the bottom). It may look impossible at first glance which is how we missed it, but it is not hard if you are physically able and saves you from having to walk over a mile further. (4) go northwest about a quarter mile, stay right along the bottom of the bluffs until you get to the falls. We learned of this way from a very kind older gentleman who was camping overnight @ the bottom of the falls.

hiking
2 months ago

This is an easy hike to an awesome spot. Definitely off the beaten path, but the trail is easy to follow. When you get to the natural area sign just follow the bluff line past the power line clearing to the cave.
Make sure to keep following the bluff for a little way after the cave, as it is very spectacular. Definitely one of the coolest places in the Shawnee National Forest. Also be prepared to be accompanied on your hike by a friendly black lab.

I loved this trail! It was quite easy and the scenery was breathtaking.

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.

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
2 months 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.

Nice paved trail, ideal for walking pets as it’s pretty wide and you don’t have to worry about ticks as much as on a narrow trail. We spotted a family of deer so that was nice!

hiking
3 months 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!!

Pretty rock formations in the canyon , but wayyy toooi many trees blocking paths.

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