Rocky Bluff Trail

EASY 66 reviews

Rocky Bluff Trail is a 1.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Carbondale, Illinois that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

1.7 miles
157 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running







wild flowers


A permit is required to access this trail.

1 month ago

My Wife and I hiked this a few days ago. Very beautiful scenery and for the most part a well maintained trail. Disclaimer to those afraid of getting off the beaten path: there were a few areas where trees had fallen across the trail, one that required you to walk about 30 yards through thick woods to get around. That wasn’t an issue for us as we hunt and are used to that but for those that may not be crazy about it, that is a possibility. That being said, they could’ve fell the night before and no one had a chance to clear them. All in all very beautiful we would definitely hike it again. FYI our GPS said it was 3.3 mi. This rates it at I believe 2.2 and their website says 1.7.

1 month ago

Nice trail. It's marked easy. I'd say it's on the high side of easy but we're in our 60's so :). Several rock crossings some of which are probably water covered at times. Some stairs. Very nice though - quiet and peaceful.

2 months ago

Look in the creek on the first mile and tell me that tree doesn’t look like a huge duck

3 months ago

This little trail is a hidden gem. Growing up in the area i had never took the time to walk this trail until here mid-March. I was happily surprised by its small water falls and bluff views.

3 months ago

This hike is great! It is absolutely beautiful in the fall with all the leaves. You will probably see some wildlife. Lots of people do come here though.

4 months ago

It's a nice, easy stroll. The bluffs are all at one end of the trail so depending on the direction you go, you're either waiting to see bluffs or wondering if you'll see any more bluffs.

Great trail. Make sure you get a permit from the Crab Orchard visitor's center.

5 months ago

Really enjoyed the trail. Beautiful

7 months ago

Nice trail that is very well marked. A lot of the trail is just walking through the woods but when you reach the bluffs they are pretty impressive. The sandstone rock bluffs have very unique patterns in them. The waterfall was dry but pretty and I'm sure would be impressive as well if caught after a good rain.

9 months ago

It's a nice trail. I would consider it more of a moderate trail rather than easy.

9 months ago

9/21/2017. In places the trail wasn't cleared very well. The creek was nasty no lake where they got bluff have no idea . Just not interesting.

10 months ago

Easy enjoyable hike with pretty waterfall if you catch it after a good rainfall.

10 months ago


10 months ago

This is a fun trail and Kid friendly - to an extent. It is NOT stroller friendly. There were many times we had to pick up the stroller and carry it over rocky, narrow areas of the trail.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

I hiked this a few days ago with my wife and 2 children (5 and 7). We were the first ones on the trail at 10:30 AM based on all the spider webs we walked through. The first 2/3 of the trail is all trees and forest. The last third is some pretty impressive rocky bluffs, as the name says. The kids were bored until we got to the rocks, then they loved it. The waterfall was dry, but it looks like it would be impressive after a rain. The trail was maintained well enough for us. You could tell they cut the weeds through some of the denser parts. Don't forget insect repellent, we needed it.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Both waterfalls were dry when we went in May. But beautiful hike and not too long.

Monday, June 05, 2017

This is a nice, out of the way trail. It's an easy to moderate hike. It Has some nice rocks to climb on, some stairs and bridges and Lots of overgrown, tall grassy paths. Others have said it's easy to get turned around but we found site maps in place and fairly easy to read. We ended up with quite a few ticks on us, so be prepared for that! I would recommend going, but make sure you have long pants and long sleeves, and bug spray!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

While elevation change makes this a technically easy trail, it's definitely not for novices. it would be quite easy to get a bit turned around since parts of the path are filled in with vegetation or narrow down to nothing and the fact that two paths merge. quite beautiful at points, but a bit frightening if you have a dog that likes to pull at other points. it's a good trail if you can find your way, it just could use some tlc

Monday, May 29, 2017

A nice little hike with waterfall, walk along a stream, bluff, and through wilderness. Turn things over to see salamanders. Also saw several snakes and frogs. Great trail for families with young kids as the length and difficulty is just right. I would rate this a moderate not easy trail.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Very well maintained trail. Went with my kids, 5 & 2 years old and they were able to do the hike no problem. Lots of water features, rocks and bridges that kept them entertained.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Great little trail. Amazing rock formations, views of Grassy Creek and two waterfalls. Easy well maintained trails. Great wildflowers on the lower trail.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I was surprised when I arrived and there was a sign that said Vehicle Decal Required. It's only $2/day, but you have to buy it 10 miles away at Crab Orchard Nat. Refuge on IL HWY 148.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fun trail for the family with only a couple slippery spots.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

great trail but you do need a sticker for crab orchid

Monday, September 05, 2016

Great trail! was well defined

Friday, September 02, 2016

Great little trail, the only portion that was overgrown was the shortcut trail. The main loop was well cleared.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Very scenic, but overgrown, hope you aren't allergic to poison ivy!

Monday, May 02, 2016

My 7 year old and I enjoy this trail! Also trail run it sometimes and can connect to the wild turkey trail to add some distance.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The trail is a bit unkept. I would not recommend this trail if you have small children that are going to accompany you. Especially if you are going to walk the trail backwards (This was something my friend and I did) We ended up accidentally leaving the trail and following a (what we thought was a trail) but only ended up being a little road way that authorized vehicles where allowed on.
Besides that whole getting lost thing, I have to say it was a really fun trail. I would recumbent this trail to experienced hikers! Bring a bottle of water with you!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Love this trail. One of my first trails and waterfalls. I fell in love and go back every chance I get. Trail fairly easy and quick. Some steep terrain but nothing too difficult for most.

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