Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

I plan on doing a section hike of the AT in about 18 months. I would like to do the River to River all the way through to prepare. It's close to where I live. I wouldn't mind others tagging along.

I definitely recommend going down the hilly trail first, ending with the look out point and hill up to the exit if you want an easier route. Steep waterfall filled trails are breathtaking but can be extremely slippery when wet. Hike with caution!

backpacking
10 days ago

Pushed myself and hiked the entirety in 6 days. Waking up on a misty morning in Panther's Den with no one else around was the highlight. Hiked it in late March, so the weather was perfect and I enjoyed and nice cigar before heading down to the Mississippi. I'd definitely do it again, but there are many more trails to hike.

About as good of a view as one can find in Illinois!

Do not bring big dogs unless you plan on going the long way around. It was near impossible lifting my 90lb. dog up some very steep cliffs. Also this map is not as accurate for making your way down to the falls. Follow the trail markers.

My favorite hike in the area! You get to climb through these incredible gorges and then see spectacular views...love it start to finish. Got a dog since the last time I tried it and not sure yet if a pup could handle some of the steeper rock descents.

First time on this trail and it did not disappoint. Wow, so much to look at. We went right after a few days of rain and while it was slick, still very manageable if you take your time and watch your steps. It took us about 2.5 hours to complete with a few breaks to admire everything around us. definitely recommend good waterproof shoes.

Excellent bluffage and unique rock formations for miles! Multiple nice waterfalls (all wet weather).

road biking
1 month ago

Great trail from Harrisburg to the Wetlands Center

Gorgeous trail.

We loved this trail. It’s beautiful and challenging. Climbing down and back out was awesome! One thing I want to note, while dogs are allowed, I do not recommend taking them as they are required to be on a leash. Dogs make getting down into the canyon and back out far more dangerous. We had two small dogs and one large dog and I would not take them on this hike again. Also, as someone else here noted, going counterclockwise makes it easier! All the signage wants you to go clockwise, but we are so glad we went the other way.

Very short hike but awesome rock formations. Great for photo ops.

From what I can see on the map here, it definitely doesn't follow the trail markers. Mainly after Goreville to the Mississippi. Im sure there is a more accurate map somewhere else to be found.

hiking
2 months ago

great trail. beautiful views of the falls from above and down below.

great bike trail

hiking
2 months ago

Fun trail. Just like many trails in southern Illinois, unique views, cool waterfalls and a good trail to enjoy. Hope to camp here one day.

Really good trail! Make sure to walk it against clockwise! Decent into a canyon is a bit difficult and slippery but it is much worse as an accent. Make sure to have good hiking shoes or, like my 12 years old dachshund, bring a friend to cary you down!)) Views are great! Trail is extremely well marked. Outside of 3 places it is more of the easy/moderate easy but those 3 places are difficult.
To bad it is 4 hours away from my house but if I’ll be in the area I’ll make sure to repeat it!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail!! It is hard to figure out how to get down to the waterfall. Go LEFT when you are on top of the waterfall. There are rocks that you climb down right after the wooden bridge. There is another spot of rocks to climb down right before the open field that will allow a longer hike. The waterfall was one of the best I’ve seen in Illinois thus far.

This is a really nice loop trail about 3.5 miles in all. The start either way is 'paved' with asphalt and then changes over to dirt/rocks. Very nice overlooks and well maintained.

Got a little off trail following the wrong markers but otherwise good

such cool rock formations on this trail! definitely recommend if you haven't seen it before!

We went after a rain and it was absolutely beautiful, it did make for slippery hiking conditions and it was a difficult hike through the falls. Definitely need good shoes.

Great trail, may be difficult for small children or the disabled

Such a great trail! Clearly marked and it makes a 3 mile loop. I try to do this trail at least once a year.

Loved it. Hard for us seniors but worthwhile

2 months ago

Pretty, difficult to find. Trailhead starts a little bit down the road.

Hard to find. The office at the campground was super rude when we tried to get directions. Definitely didn't feel welcome whatsoever. A waste of time, the overlook wasn't really worth it. Horse poo on the trails that weren't maintained well.

I was nervous about this because I hike with my two labs and some reviews were mixed. First of all, the drive down there is NOT bad. If you go slow, there is no reason why any car wouldn’t be able to make it down there. The hike itself is very nice. There is one spot that is a climb down (and back up). My dogs were hesitant and scared but finally went down. I would think an agile dog would probably hop right down. The waterfall was just a trickle but still very pretty. The trail gets confusing once you’re in the canyon but I’m pretty sure it all takes you to the same place. Giving it 4 stars because there are tons of boulders and tree roots to watch for. I wish I could have looked up a little more than down at my feet .

backpacking
3 months ago

Would love to do this trail from start to finish or possibly in two sections. Would anyone be interesting informing a group and going?

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