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.

The trail is short, but beautiful. There are benches along the trail to sit and enjoy the view. I went in March. The view in summer or fall would be even better.

Trail was really great, but it was really hard to find in the beginning. We went in the wrong direction and hit "no trespassing" signs after about half a mile. The trails are also not very well marked. It can also get pretty muddy in places.

19 hours ago

Great place for kids. I live nearby - and always had- but had never been! We enjoyed a family picnic and simple exploring. It was well worth the short drive.

We did this hike yesterday, starting at Rim Rock (we took the path to the far right (of the four options) and making our way to Pounds Hollow. We actually spent a little time at Pounds Hollow to take a break (up the bluff), then hiked back, where there is a small sign at the point of the three large bluff/ rock formation areas. We headed the opposite direction that we came from to ox-lot cave and wandered/ climbed around until we found a stone staircase. That led between the rock formations and toward a recently created or remodeled wooden staircase that takes you to the top of Ox-lot. We then took the upper trail back to the parking area. During our hike, we ended up with a distance of 4 miles and climbed the equivalent of 37 flights. It was an excellent time. Calling it a moderate hike/ trail is mostly accurate. I would say easy to moderate. I did take the time to climb up a few of the formations and experience different views. I would recommend it just to really take everything in. Recent rains meant the water was flowing nicely and there were very few people there, so you really got to hear the amazing, peaceful, serene sounds of nature!

SNF has done a wonderful job keeping this area up. The addition of walkways, benches, and bridges simplify the trail, but do not take away from the environment. Most is likely done as a protective feature for the natural areas and the hikers. This is a family friendly place. There were only 5 other families/ couples there when we left, only two others when we arrived.

19724 Stratford Lane is address for google map directions. Small parking lot plenty of signs to follow to get you to devils prop. Unfortunately as beautiful as the rock formations & creek are. The site has been vandalized and littered. There are no trails markings. If you are in the area stop by. But I wouldn’t drive far for this one.

I went early in the morning without any issues. No one was there besides myself. Due to heavy litter and vandalism I wouldn’t hike in late evening or at nighttime.

Really lovely trail all along the way. Easy to follow except at the stream crossings. There are no bridges so if the water is up like it was for us you will need to wade. I built a rocky causeway to pass the first crossing upstream but the downstream crossing was much too deep and we had to get our feet wet. The spring is not visible from the trail and appears on the map to source several miles away which may be visible from another road which passes through that way(just by visual inspection on a map). The trail was easy to follow in most places though some spots we lost it due to sharp turns and lack of arrows indicating the proper path which caused us to do some unnecessary ledge crawling. The sentry bluff trail(Blue diamonds) travels along with part of the Natural bridge trail(Yellow Diamonds) close to the parking area where the natural bridge can be seen across the creek. However unless coming in a dry/low water season you will be getting your feet wet to see the natural bridge or to hike any trails on the other side of the stream. Both the entire length of the sentry trail we took and the finale of the natural bridge at the end were stunningly beautiful. A spraying water fall into the keyhole of the natural bridge gave rise to a small rainbow next to a a large snaking tree which climbed the height of the bridge into the canopy above.
Definitely well worth the visit. Better trail marking in places and bridges for stream crossings would make my 5 star review.

Nice hike up a drainage following a small creek.

8 days ago

Nice Loop. Fun rock formations, couple creek crossings, good variety. The trail marking are poor. The first part is fine follow it across the creek and up the next hill, you will come to a marker telling you to turn left to the rock formations, take it left as indicated. (the trail straight forward is the river to river trail). I in a short distance down the hill you will come across the rock formation, take time to explore, then continue north, down the hill on the established trail, you will come to the creek again, cross it and stay on the established trail, (you may see a sign that says panther den with an arrow telling you to turn right, ignore it) following the creek, crossing it again, the trail heads up the hill to the left, which shortly heads back south towards the trail head, you will come to another intersection that says trail head left, take it left and will join the trail you came in on, turn right, and your about 1/4 mile from the parking lot.

The rock formations are worth the hike.

This Trail Is small VERY SMALL! but worth the stop it is listed in the Smothsonia as the top 50 in the USA! On Smithsonia.Com and top for Illinois very Beautiful place. if you trail it it dont take long but in my case it lasted for almost 9 hours .Put me in a Wilderness and I'll stay as long as possible and cry when I have to leave. There are a few folks walking around but I seem to be able to figure out where to go to get away from them plus I went in the middle of the week so that helps. beautiful place I was there in Oct 2017 for the fall colors PERFECT!!!!!!!!

Great short trail whole loop was 3 miles which is a little short. Had some great view points. Hardest part is the incline in the first miles. I decided to do the Johnson trail and then when it connected to the Salt Lick Trail I did that again backwards. I recommend it for anyone looking for something different than the flat trails in the area. I would say it’s more moderate than hard. I wish you could go in the mines that would be fun!

Easy trail to hike and has really beautiful creeks and bluffs along the route. I'd just use GPS to stay on the route because markings aren't the best.

Moderate trail with lush vegetation, some parts have a moderate incline. The cave is a pretty cool spectacle to see. Lots of big trees and rock cliffs, Creeks, wild life are just a few things to see. Interesting would do it again in the winter to see what frozen sculptures nature has created.

This may be one of my family’s favorite trails, yet. It’s perfect for the kiddos and the cave halfway through was awesome! We could have spent an entire day at the cave before ever coming back. We’ll definitely be back. This whole park is amazing!

23 days ago

The best part about this trail is the scenery, the views, and the variety of terrain. Just look at some of the pictures, it'll prove it to you. That said, this trail is horribly marked, seriously. Counted maybe 6 trail markers on trees, and that's for the whole trail. You need to follow some kind of map to finish it, or you will get lost and wander off. Also, it is very sloppy after a rain, so keep that in mind. Other than that it was one of the best trails I have ever hiked.

24 days ago

Visited this trail on a nice Sunday morning. Trail was nicely marked and cleared. Gave 3 stars because we weren't able to find the rock structures and there were constant gun shots towards where the rocks were so we turned around and left.

Nice trail. Easy to follow. The waterfall is pretty active, due to recent rain. Be careful on wooden bridges. They are slippery.

29 days ago

It was super sloppy and my first time here but I've hiked all of Shawnee and this has quickly become my favorite area. it was so worth it.

Found a great cave on this trail

Very challenging initial climb but very nice views from the top.

Beautiful scenic trail.

1 month ago

Kind of a tough choice as I've been on the couch for the bitter cold streak; but doable and breathtaking vistas.

Muddy conditions made the trail more challenging than it should have been. The route shown is part of the Salt Lick Point Trail and the Johnson Trail. Add the Newman Trail (out & back) for some extra fun. Maps are available at the trailhead.

Amazing rock formations


3 months ago

Grew up hiking these bluffs! Great trail!!!

3 months ago

The reason it’s rated Hard is because of the initial ascent up 452 feet. But once you get up to the top it’s a meandering trail with beautiful vistas overlooking the Mississippi River Valley.

Great trail and dog friendly!

sink holes,amphibian pond, class A forest. ..go

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