Explore the most popular hiking 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.

hiking
5 days 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
11 days 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.

A good one in Shawnee, great rock formation!

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
15 days 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!

hiking
17 days ago

Amidst the thicket of poison ivy. You’ll become personally acquainted with the local natives of ticks chiggers and spiders. Bring a backpack to haul the gallon of pure Deet needed to keep the mosquitos off, also a towel to sop up the sweat from the heat and humidity.. don’t forget the machete needed to trail-blaze a new path, for the forest is thicker than Vietnam. After wading through the stumps and milfoil you can cool off in Kinkaid lake. Then resume the baton death march back to the parking lot..... on the way home stop by the store to pick up a 6 pack to pay off your hiking partner to grope you for embedded seed ticks.. use a scraper cause more than likely there will be a few hundred on ya....

After this hike I through I’m the towel on exploring new trails in the area.. do your self a favor this summer stay on trails you know.

Sincerely,
The hiking communities newest lime disease patient.

mountain biking
19 days ago

What a great easy trail! Don’t expect to get an extreme workout by any means but if you like to recreational ride and enjoy the view with virtually no roads to ever cross, it is spectacular! The trail runs slightly downhill when riding north to south. Obviously, vice versa. Start as you wish, you do not need a map. There are no forks. It is impossible to get lost. Just enjoy the scenery and relax.

one of my all time favorite places to hike.

hiking
27 days ago

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

mountain biking
27 days ago

We've biked from tunnel hill to Vienna park and back a few times.

Defintely do this one, you can also hike over to Pounds Hollow from this trail.

hiking
27 days 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

another stunning park!. Shawnee national forest ceases to amaze me.

Def need to come back and spend more time here. not a big park, but the feeling you get reminiscing of the Indians and how they must have lived was inspiring.

Definitely making another trip back!!! We could spend all day here and still not see everything!! We loved it! Nice trails and beautiful rock formations! We will definitely go back soon!

We had a blast! Definitely be 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
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month 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 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.

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

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.

mountain biking
1 month ago

A well maintained trail....a good cardio workout because of the length out and back on a mountain bike. No technical riding, though, just straight pedaling. Nice facilities along the way.

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