Explore the most popular cave 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.

my kids love this trail best in summer because they love to play in the creeks that wind through the hollwers. The rock over hangs over the creeks are beautiful. I recommend it for a nice leisure hike for kids a fun kid hike.

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!

12 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.

Perfect for my kids and I for a quick, level loop. Completed smaller loop in 30 min with 2 small kids and a teen. Fresh air was great; educational signs along the way were a bonus. Great walking trail!

16 days ago

The coal mine was a neat feature of the park. The trail to the mine entrance ran along, and sometimes through, the small stream, which made this a fair bit muddy as well. Several large blowdowns also added to the difficulty.

16 days ago

Super muddy, trekking poles saved me from falling four times. Definitely not for someone with limited mobility. As you ascend the first hill from the parking area, nearing the rope hand hold, follow the rocks up to the ditch along to the right. This meets up with the trail and is a bit less muddy. Once you arrive at the T, take a left and a small bench and sign post let you know where to turn towards the glen. Peoria is lucky to have this available for access.

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.

Good trail with nice views.

This was a fun trail run. It took me 55 minutes to complete the big loop (~2.6 mi). I jogged slow (it was a little muddy at the beginning) and stopped for a lot of pictures.

It was pretty educational along the way with the signs explaining karst and sinkholes. I was expecting a bigger entry into the cave to maybe explore a little bit, but it’s just small enough so only small animals can get in/out. so that was a little anticlimactic. Other than that, I can’t wait to visit again in the spring to see the awesome colors!

21 days ago

Great, short hike w very impressive cave. This would be a great hike for youngsters because of the cave, huge boulders for climbing & it’s a fairly short walk for kids.

What a wonderful trail. Easy to follow trail and beautiful views. I recommend this trail to everyone.

Some great views but the trail is not well maintained. Easily get lost. I took my dog with me and ended up removing at least a dozen of ticks.

Great rock formations

Easy walk. nice views.

Easy walk. nice views.

So beautiful, a few tricky moments but that might just be because the water level was high while I was there. I had to cross two biggish creeks by just walking through the water but my hiking boots kept my feet dry. Gorgeous, lots of mushroom variety and there are a few patches of coniferous forest that make for magical transitions.

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.

Article on the hike from my Blog


1 month ago

Breathtakingly beautiful, but it's easy to loose the trail. Had to double back several times to get back on track. Definitely worth checking out, but take care not to get lost in a bad way.

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!

Wow! The cave is incredible and the boulders are huge! Very easy trail and I will be back.

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.

2 months ago

My first hike while visiting Illinois and I have to say it was a fantastic choice. I hiked in early October and so the temperature was a bit chilly but the right outerwear will combat this. Because of the day and time of the year, there were only two other hikers that I saw, which led to a lot more peace out there. The waterfall still had a good amount of runoff which made the whole trip worth it.

Fall is a great time to come and see this awesome place! The different color trees make it more beautiful. Lots of places for photos. It is a easy trail I have been here 3 times and it always has a lot of people. If you bring children ... don’t let them out of your sight.

We started the trail clockwise. It is a easy hike on a stone paved walkway for a little bit then you will see the stairs to go down and squeeze thru the rock formations..then the trail is a dirt path which had a little mud because it had rained the day before. But not too bad at all! Loved to see the huge rock cliffs beside us as we hiked. It’s a easy peaceful hike only saw one other person so not too crowded!

2 months ago

Nice easy hike. Does take you to a awesome overlook. Has a small cave , big rock formations. You need to follow the blue blazes and sometimes it’s hard to know which way to go. Use your AllTrails recorder to help you stay on the right path. Saw a couple putting up their tent to camp which would be fun!


Beautiful trail. Easy hike , enjoyed the colors of fall

Load More