hiking

dogs on leash

walking

forest

views

kid friendly

birding

nature trips

wild flowers

wildlife

camping

trail running

horseback riding

river

rock climbing

cave

lake

waterfall

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 in once I reached the river.

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!

One of So IL’s best spots. Been coming here since 90s. Technical enough to keep it interesting but still big kid friendly. Spent an amazing night there last night with unbelievably forgiving weather for July. We camped at a well established spot by the water about a 15-20 min hike from the north CH trailhead and before the Wolf Den. Took 5 ticks off my son this morning but none on me. Guess they don’t like the smell of bourbon. New hikers should be aware of the two options at the north trailhead. The left fork is more friendly if you’re packing heavy or not in prime condition. The right fork is a bit of rock and boulder hopping down into the valley.

cool rock formations

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.

anyone planning on hiking the entire trail in one trip? I really would like to do it but I don't really want to go at it by myself,and if anyone has already done it I'll take some pointers on where I can resupply on food and whatnot along the way. thanks!

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.

My favorite trail in the Shawnee National forest. Beautiful views at the overlook. Don't be afraid to venture past the posts at the overlook and climb down onto the bluff. It is a view that is difficult to beat. Once you follow the trail down into the bottoms the atmosphere of the trail changes but is just as beautiful as the upper area. Certain parts of the decent are very mossy and slippery. Many people bring dogs to the trail but be aware that there are certain areas where you will have to lift your dog. Bug spray is a must especially during the summer season. Many ticks after most visits. Coming after a rain will provide flowing water views and some slight water crossings.
The ascent of the trail is exhausting. The views are completely worth it but be sure to pack lots of water.
The best time I have had on this trail is in the late fall when the leaves are beginning to fall. More opportunities for visibility

This trail was spectacular! Well marked and great scenic views. Although, you have to hike the full loop to enjoy the views but it is worth it.

Beautiful scenery!

Never disappointed! Beautiful!

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.

This has been my absolute favorite thus far. We started by going left out of the parking lot and walked a gravel trail for a while, thinking that was all the trail was. We arrived at a scenic outpost and, had we stopped there, I can say it would have been a disappointment given how highly this trail is rated. The best, it turns out, was yet to come. From the outlook you hit a few cross backs that take you down in to a ravine where you climb down some rocks to get to the basin below. This was beautiful and moderately challenging, on rainy or wet days it would be difficult, and if you plan on bringing small children or pets you should know that you WILL have to lift them or carry them during some parts of this trail. Ya worth it, however, and the bottoms are pretty in their own right. Once you come to the end of the basin and it’s time to climb out the other side, there is a long stretch of rocks you climb up. There are hand and footholds to help that are placed at just the right places to help out. We took to climbing these with some speed and, at the top, we were both happy to sit for a minute and catch our breath. Once you are on top of the rock area, you’re not done. The rest of the trail is almost all an elevation climb and, by the time you reach the parking lot, you’re gassed. This trail was a great assortment of all the good stuff that I thoroughly enjoyed. I will be bringing my girls next time so they can experience it!

Traveled from Tennessee just to see it and it didn’t disappoint. Just wish it was a little longer. Absolutely beautiful!!

Fun hike with a 7 year old in tow. Enjoyed the rock formations and ox-lot cave. Very relaxed and educational.

Wish we could have found where to descend from the upper rim trail. We enjoy the hike but wished we could have gotten to the falls.

The rock formations were really cool. We had fun climbing on all the rocks. Views were amazing!

A lot of fun, if a bit slippery in some parts. Took my 7 year old son and he had a blast.

One of my favorite trails in Southern Illinois. Forest Service rules means camping is allowed under the sandstone overhangs, with easy access to beautiful side trails (including the slot canyon Wolf Trap Hollow) and the lake if you enjoy fishing.

First trip to GOG! Awesome. Rock formations overlook GOG, westward. Was looking for a sunrise meditation facing the east. Not possible due to the tree tops. Totally satisfied, though. Perfect for a sunset meditation and gazing.

Amazing views, beautifully maintained trail. Just be careful as you hop and climb over the rocks - the height is very high and there’s not much to grab onto. Other than the normal safety precautions this is a wonderful hike!

I loved the terrain and views. But people are LIVING in these woods. We seriously had a man request that we “pay the troll toll” because we accidentally came upon his home during our short walk. We played it cool and gave him some cashews and he was alright with us passing through but still, wth. Then we encountered a set of campers

This was too cool. There was plenty to explore here, so many cool rock formations, while you're on the bottom floor you can't help but just stare up in awe. The long staircase through some narrow passages in the natural rock was awesome and if my current physical state would have allowed me to, I would have just kept going up and down that portion.

My husband and I were staying the in campground at Garden of the Gods so this was a must-see. We were not disappointed. It's a really short trail but you could spend a long time just standing on the rocks and looking out. We're from SE Michigan which is very flat so this was something really different to see! I could see this being sketchy for parents with young kids, personally if I had children with me I would put them on a leash because there are no guard rails and it's a long fall down.

beautiful area.

Great hike. I went with my husband and two dogs. Definitely wear waterproof hiking shoes with good grip because the creek beds are slippery.

In the Shawnee National Forest is a rock escarpment known as Rim Rock. This park is just a few minutes drive from Garden of the Gods so plan to do this trail on the same day. The trail goes up over the hill along a paved flagstone trail and then dives down through the rocks where it passes through narrow slot canyons to the canyon below. the center of the trail is just an enjoyable walk in the woods with no scenery. But once you reach the northern part of the loop you'll see the steps leading down to narrow stone passages. Return to the top of the steps to follow a rock outcropping back along the western loop or descend tot he bottom of the passage until you reach the canyon floor where you can continue CW along massive cliffs back to the trailhead.

Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!

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