Explore the most popular camping trails in Illinois 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.

This was during the shutdown and gates closed. Only adds 4/10’s of a mile to the hike. Took the upper left trail and came back up the lower right side. Don’t pass this one up if visiting Garden of the Gods!

backpacking
8 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.

beautiful hike, very scenic.

Very flat, kinda boring. I wish there were more views of the lake. Also don’t go alone, I didn’t feel completely safe. Extremely muddy patches

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.

Large parking lot that sometimes fills up. Very popular for good reason, great hike!!! Unless you go early (sunrise) or late ( sunset) there is a crowd. One of the best hikes in Shawnee and a “ must do”

An overlooked gem. This trail offers some spectacular views and opportunities to explore off the trail.

walking
14 days ago

I was surprised that this trail was so busy on a chilly winter day. There was too much jostling for trail space with so many runners, bikers, roller-bladers, roller-skiers and dog walkers. The nearby highway is loud, especially with all the motorcycles racing around. Not relaxing, at all.

Love it here. So much to do. Take your time and enjoy all of it!

We had great loop hike yesterday.
Trail need more toilets than one for wintertime

Happy New Year

Well blazed, but it was hard to see the path so we really had to focus on the blazes had to be careful near the rocky parts because it was raining.

One of my favorite places to go. When you catch it at a good time, the waterfall is amazing. It’s a very easy walk (and short) to get to the back, and once you are there you will want to stay and enjoy it!

Spend time camping in this area. Backpacking is good here, though I had trouble finding the primitive camping spots.... and the trails keep you moving and looking for more!
The sunsets are beautiful and the stars are bright here.

Scenic trails along the river. Nice up and down trails in the pine trees

Worked here for three months and saw a different critter or new plant almost daily. Turtles, jack in the pulpit, lizards galore...the list goes on! Check it out but be wary there are lots of ticks in summertime.

Beautiful hike with awesome rock formations. We hiked this trail on a rainy day and the water sheds off the trail well. The trail is easy unless you want to venture into the rock formations which provide ample opportunity for climbing.

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

Fort Massac is an older restoration and in poor condition. Their are no tours inside the structures. Still nice to see, nice visitor center, great campgrounds and a couple other trails in the park.

hiking
1 month ago

Love this trail. I will be hiking this during every season. Fun trail with many views to see and a lot to explore!

I'd recommend this area to everyone. I loved the trail and can't wait to go back.

It’s flat and basic, but that’s not necessarily bad. The corn has been harvested so I imagine the views are nicer now that you can see a little more skyline. It was a bit tricky to find the trailhead. Pull into the park and take the road to the left, go across the levy and park at shelter 3. The road is a loop where you park and you want to go to the opposite side of the parking where they’ve mowed a wide patch of path. Keep walking ~0.2 mi and you’ll see a sign marking the trail. There are two loops. The first loop (~1 mi, I didn’t actually check) you’ll end up where you parked, but shortly before that you’ll see the second loop head off to the right. Today the second loop was SO muddy 1/2 mi in and at one point the whole path was water. I was with my short legged dog who was already getting too messy so we had to turn around. It was still a nice day and an easy walk outside with decent views and a faint sighting of the downtown STL skyline.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail! We’ve hiked this trail numerous times. It’s beautiful and we’ve seen eagles and blue herons on the bluff. Lots of deer and occasionally, a coyote or two. It’s surprisingly hilly for Illinois. It’s especially beautiful in the fall. One note - wear bug spray in the spring and summer, the woods in this area do have ticks. Be sure your dogs are also protected. It’s especially bad in the spring which is also when people are hunting for Morel mushrooms and you will run into more people this time of year.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Extremely beautiful. The stream was going just enough to get my feet wet on a couple of the crossings. Not very difficult, although there were a couple of spots where the only path was water covered rocks. Crystal clear water and beautiful rock outcrops are all over. Someone did come by and spray the devil's backbone with graffiti which h was slightly disappointing. All in all, this is a great quick hike.

hiking
2 months ago

The trail was marked very well. We were followed it the whole way. Would be great during the summer to swim with the rope swings. I will definitely be back.

camping
2 months ago

Great place to camp. The primitive shelters had parking, fire pits, a grill, and a Picnic table. The main reason this is such a good spot is it’s proximity to several trails. It’s right in the middle of some very cool places. I definitely plan on returning and would recommend.

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.

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