Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Jackson Falls Trail is a 3.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Ozark, Illinois that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 3.7 mi Elevation gain 416 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Kid friendly Camping Hiking Horseback riding Nature trips Rock climbing Bird watching Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Rocky Scramble Off trail
Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

Jackson Falls trail follows the top of the bluff (southeast) around to the "dog leg" where you can walk into the canyon. Rock Climbing and Bouldering are favorite activities. Rock climbing and bouldering between three water falls.

There is an outhouse there and a bulletin board with information supplied by the Illinois Climbers' Association. Camping is allowed here. a trail follows the top of the bluff (southeast) around to the "dog leg" where you can walk into the canyon, or you can tie up and rappel. Primitive camping is allowed.

Shawnee National Forest Headquarters 50 Hwy 145 South Harrisburg, IL 62946 Phone: (618) 253-7114

To reach Jackson Falls from Harrisburg, turn south on Highway 145 to Delwood. turn right (west) toward Bell Smith Springs. Pass through Mccormick, then Zion Hill Church. Turn left (south) on forest road 494. Road is rough until the unmarked recreation area on the right, just before the creek.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (235)
Photos (610)
Recordings (162)
Completed (438)
View user's profile page
Lori Eberhart-Hampton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

Stay in the upper trail. Easy to get lost in the lower parts.

View Lori's Recording
View user's profile page
Drashti Sheth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 18, 2020
Mountain biking
View Drashti's Recording
View user's profile page
April Stegeman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 8, 2020
Hiking

Like everyone else I got frustratingly lost. I’d recommend either staying on the upper trails (48) or lower trails (49) rather than trying to combine them.

View April's Recording
View user's profile page
leslie magruder
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 8, 2020
Hiking

Please be advised this hike is not kid or dog friendly if you plan on doing the entire trek from top to bottom! People see it listed as a waterfall and assume it must be easy. Nothing about it is easy so be prepared! That being said It’s an absolutely beautiful area full of rock formations, squeezes, waterfalls, wildlife, crevasses, and more. The best way to find the 2 scramble up/down areas is to find the 2 EMS Stations with the backboards. It’s very easy to turn this 3.7 mile hike into a 6 mile hike, even for the experienced hiker. Please do not litter!

View user's profile page
kevin joest
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2020
HikingGreat!
View kevin's Recording
View user's profile page
Alex McClain
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 27, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Awesome trail! Bummed the falls wasn’t flowing when we were there. Like others have mentioned the sharp turn up and down can be tricky. The app worked for us even when I didn’t have cell service, the key is to keep the app open with the map and it will keep your position updated. Also look for the stretchers, that’s where the scrambles up and down are.

View user's profile page
Lorraine L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 23, 2020
CampingGreat!

There was an event going on so we couldn’t explore but we did have a lovely campfire dinner off the trail. Plenty of other people were camping, very kind and gave us lighter fluid to start our charcoal fire. Sunset was beautiful.

View user's profile page
James Plogger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 14, 2020
Hiking

Really great trail, make sure you bring shoes that don’t slip on the damp rock. I went down twice, wasn’t even near the “waterfall”

View James's Recording
View user's profile page
Valerie Chandra
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 8, 2020
HikingOff trailPrivate property

We were warned by other reviews: no cell reception which means no working app and no map access. That topped by no sign and barely a couple of markers. So we got lost. Not terribly but our 3.6 miles hike turned into 6. Started overshooting the first part following the cliff. Missed the Sharp left turn where one has to climb down a few big rocks to head into the canyon. Had coverage at that point so found it ok. Then you end up on a railroad track for a bit. Finding when to go back left from there is a bit of a guess. From that point on, no cell coverage, u r on your own and hv to interpret a rather overgrown trail with forks with no markers. We made it to the Jackson Fall fine eyeballing it. Things went south after that when we tried to find a way back up the cliff to the parking lot close by. Couldn’t find it! Ended up backtracking and not finding that small rocky trail past the railroad track. Again eyeballed an area which we rock climbed and got lucky that it took us back to it. Nice scenery and varied terrains. Saw lots of climbers which was cool. Would hv given that trail 4 to 5 stars if correctly marked. That’s a shame....

View user's profile page
Amanda Welker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

As others mention, the trail is terribly, godawfully marked. It's easy to go the wrong direction for 1/4-1/2 a mile before realizing your error. We spent 2 hours lost and didn't find the falls, for a total of 4 hours hiking. We didn't see anyone else on the trail for guidance. Some views were nice but definitely not worth the frustration and anxiety of turning down the wrong path a thousand times. Do a different trail.

View user's profile page
Sheila Wheatley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 27, 2020
Hiking

If your going to hike to the bottom of the falls then I would say this hike is for those who do not physical limitations. It is difficult and you have to do some rock climbing (don’t need equipment). The swimming hole and standing under the falls was fun and rewarding on a hot day. Worth it!

View user's profile page
Joellen Vohlken
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 11, 2020
HikingMuddy

My husband has been hunting in Shawnee for 30+ years and told me many times about Jackson Falls. My first hike here with him was May 30, 2020. The road in is not rocked and quite rutted up. A very rough ride. We encountered three people along the road who had become lost on some horse trails that led off the main trail to the falls. We gave them a ride back to the site. The site is beautiful. I would class the trail as moderate. But, I was not able to make the descent to the bottom of the falls. We had just hiked Burden Falls and it was physically too much for me that day. Had I not been tired, I’m sure I could have done the climb down on the rocks. We will have to go back when I’m fresh or am a more experienced hiker. There were a few tent camping by the lower parking area. There was an upper area where there were mobile campers. It was quite crowded there. We were hearing it was very hard to navigate to pull out. We ran into a bit of a traffic jam trying to leave. I would recommend turning around and parking along the road in the direction to leave before hiking it.

View user's profile page
Jonathan Richards
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 8, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail but very poorly marked. We have hiked all over the world, and this trail was one of the hardest to follow. Once you find a way down the cliffs, you are stuck below the cliffs, until you find a way out. We had a wonderful hike, but all and all we hiked right around 6 miles. (According to our running watch) I would give this a medium/advanced rating due to trail navigation. Download the map before you go! You will not regret it. #vanlifefoodies

View user's profile page
Hiking Honkey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 31, 2020
HikingOff trailRockyScramble

4.9 mi / loop /moderate 417 ft elevation gain Features: Waterfalls, creek, caves Great overnight at Jackson falls, the Climbers Paradise. Fantastic old rock formations and a good varied Terrain made for great exploring and awesome views. Seen a bunch of copperheads along the way, and enjoyed the big waterfall even though the water was a little bit light. Great park for an overnight, but it was almost crowded. Instagram: Hiking Honkey

View user's profile page
Jonathan Tolley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 30, 2020
HikingMuddyRockyScramble

Nice views and very unique rock walls. It would be great if it were better marked. It was hard to follow with all the little spurs coming and going. Not much of a map to go off of at the trailhead so be advised to bring a good topo map because it is very easy to get turned around and little to no cell service for online maps. There is a lot of opportunity for rock wall climbing for those who rock climb. I got there early and wasn’t to crowded. By the time I left, there were plenty of cars parked along the road and was very crowded. Plenty of camp spots as well along the creek at the trailhead.

View Jonathan's Recording
View user's profile page
Billy Arthur
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 28, 2020
HikingBugsMuddyOver grownRockyScramble

Went to hike the trails over memorial day weekend 2020, in that time there was someone hiking the trail and fell over 50 feet or so resulting in the need to get air lifted to get help and come to find out 2 weeks before that someone slipped off the trail also and ended up not making it out at all. Ran into multiple other groups that couldnt find the trail or the way out, luckily some rock climbers were able to show us the way. On the way out we ran into a copperhead snake that was on the way to get to the top rim trail. My group all got ticks, chiggers and poison ivy as the area is very undeveloped. Horses also leave huge ruts in the trails causing multiple rolled ankles as well as horse poop all over the trial. Marked this off my todo list and will not be coming back.

View user's profile page
Allison J-son
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 5, 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

My 3 kiddos (13,8,6) & I all did the entire loop today! there were definitely spots where it got a little hairy.. and had a little bit of difficulty following the right trails a couple times. Turned around at one point, but ended up finding our way down into the canyon... We just asked other people who we met on the trail&they were all super helpful with getting it figured out. :) So glad that we did keep going down to see it all, was well worth it!! The road getting to the trailhead is pretty rough. Was worried my minivan wouldn't be able to make it back up&out... Gravel, steep, washed out in places, lots and lots of pot holes.. narrow, very narrow. But again, it was all worth it in the end we thought.

View user's profile page
Kevin Pearson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 30, 2020
HikingScramble

Beuatiful! Love the huge boulders!

View user's profile page
Bryce Duncan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 10, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful waterways, tough hike if you do the loop. I'll certainly do it again, but I had to put my German Shepard on my shoulders to get back up from the lower trail. If you don't go to the bottom you miss out on the best views, but I wouldn't suggest it if you aren't in decent shape.

Showing results 1 - 19 of 235