Explore the most popular trails near Watkins Ford with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Watkins Ford, Illinois Map
VIEW FULL MAP
hiking
1 month ago

Hiked there with 3 dogs and it worked out fine. Went through the side to go through the entire Red trail and got a bit lost, but that was our fault - the trees were clearly marked past the crossing over the creek. Overall a really nice hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Waterfall was in full swing when we went, but VERY slippery. Be safe!

hiking
1 month ago

No waterfall at all when we went, not even a trickle, so be sure to check before going. We tried to hike the trail but it was too difficult to climb over the rocks and fallen trees with our 2 older dogs. One actually slipped over the side while jumping over a crevice. Luckily his harness held him until we could pull him up. We had to turn around. Very disappointing.

hiking
2 months ago

Combined this trail together with sentry bluff trail. I like this trail much better than sentry. Lots of places to explore and since the river was practically non existent, you could walk on the riverbed. Lots of places to swim as well. (In the deeper swimming holes that had water.) Also lots of opportunities to climb.

hiking
3 months ago

Most of the trail was blocked by fallen trees. Trail is not well marked. Pretty much just got to see the rock formations from the trailhead.

hiking
4 months ago

PLEASE BE CAREFUL HERE. Witnessed a woman fall off the edge because she got too close and slipped. She did not survive her injuries. ALWAYS stay away from wet/slick rocks, wear shoes with good traction and give yourself a few feet from the edge to ensure your safety. VERY DANGEROUS - there are no guard rails, signs or anything to warn of the dangers here.

hiking
5 months ago

This was my favorite hike while my husband were staying in Shawnee. You can see the top of the falls from the parking lot and I was like "this is it?". But the trail takes you down and around and then you can see how cool the falls really are. We were there the day after a good thunderstorm so it was flowing pretty well. You can climb over the rocks at the bottom of the falls to get a better view. There are signs on the road telling you "Burden Falls --->" but the parking lot was not marked. We even had a truck stop us on the way back and ask where it was. Google Maps leads you right there!

hiking
5 months ago

Giving this one a 4 star rating only because it is not 100% dog friendly. The falls were beautiful and the rock climbing to get up to the top at the end of the trail was a lot of fun and a big hit with everyone in our group. Except our poor dog who did not love being lifted over some of the rocks. The trail is well marked and easily accessible for dogs except for the last tenth of a mile which requires you to climb up a few rocks to get to the top of the falls and the parking lot. You could always turn back and walk back up the trail to the parking lot but the rocks were much shorter and a whole lot more entertaining. Well worth the drive out and such a fun hike to do. Recommend you be prepared to hike 2 miles or

on Burden Falls

hiking
6 months ago

It definitely earns it's name. But totally worth it

hiking
7 months ago

Really pretty area. This was hidden gem you would never find without online mapping. There are no trail markers, Park signs, or any information available at the site, but google maps takes you right to it. The road to get there is poorly maintained which can do damage to commuter cars if the driver is not careful. Falls are at the head of the trail with approximately 3/4 mile loop which leads down around the bluffs over bedrock trails to the base of the falls and cataracts. The trail is poorly demarcated in most places and is a struggle to find the correct path but it is not easy to get lost due to the trail following the canyon. Finding the loop was tricky, as it is a much more advanced climb than the trail leading down to the falls which involves scrambling over rocks and a ledge crawl over the top of the falls. Though it was passable with me and my 60 year-old-mother. We went on March 14th which fed the falls with snow melt providing beautiful views and a nice brisk hike. Though we were both a little winded after climbing up the backside of the falls, I'd definitely recommend this hike. Expect to spend 30 minutes to an hour depending on your speed and agility.

on Burden Falls

7 months ago

Beautiful, excellent views, wish trail was better marked. going down wasn't to bad but unable to find trail out and had to back track up a very steep hill.

8 months ago

So pretty. Be prepared to cross the creek.

This trail was beautiful today with the waterfalls frozen! It was a bit dangerous in places where the boulders are covered in ice and slippery.

9 months ago

Jackson Falls is better in my opinion. Burden is really easy to get to, with parking literally 10 feet away.

hiking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

Don't pass this up, especially after a rainfall! When the water is running, the views can be sensational.

hiking
Sunday, June 25, 2017

I don't think this trail is a loop. From trailhead we went left on the only trail we saw. Top of falls are close to trailhead. Hiked along the top of bluff and then lost the trail so we made our way down into the gorge, followed the stream for a while hoping to find the trail but never did. Followed it back up river to base of falls, then backtracked and hiked back out on top of bluff. Beautiful area, saw some backpackers going out to camp and a couple of fire circles. Wouldn't recommend for children.

hiking
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Great hike but pretty dry. There is a lot of climbing on rocks and can be challenging at times. We lost the trail at the loop so we took the same part back.

Friday, May 05, 2017

A definite must see

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Beautiful views just be careful rocks are slippery:

hiking
Friday, April 14, 2017

beautiful area. hike to bottom was fun for a group of guys but would be nervous with my little 1. short walk to fall.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Went after the garden of the gods observation trail. getting down to the bottom of falls was difficult, especially with young kids. pretty view though

Thursday, March 16, 2017

One of three official trails in Bell Smith. This contains the Devil's backbone feature. Shawnee forest is a great area to hike

hiking
Saturday, March 11, 2017

Waterfall is OK, the drainage below the falls is a nice scenic area. Be sure and do Jackson falls when in the area.

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

4 months ago

Load More