Shawnee National Forest Hiking Trails

Pope county is the home to some of the most accessible and well known hikes in Southern Illinois. Enjoy a short hike with spectacular views while you take in a little bit of the history and natural beauty of the Shawnee National Forest. These trails are perfect for a great outdoor family vacation or for the avid hiking enthusiast to challenge themselves in scenic Southern Illinois woodlands.The beautiful rock formations and river valleys in Shawnee National Forest will intrigue young and old alike.

Enjoy a day hiking through one of the last remaining wetland areas in Southern Illinois. See spectacular wildlife that are specific to wetland areas while taking in a little piece of the scenic wonders in the area. The War Bluff wildlife sanctuary is a part of the Illinois Audubon Society specializing in the preservation of species native to the upland area. Enjoy acres of untouched woodlands in this wildlife area.

Want to catch a glimpse of a beautiful waterfall or peak into the history of Illinois pioneer settlements? The Burden Falls trail has all of that plus the beauty of nature only in Southern Illinois. In the Lusk Creek Wilderness, take a peak from Indian Kitchen, a beautiful scenic overview in the heart of this untouched wilderness providing hikers with views of Southern Illinois nature at it’s most pristine.

Dig into the Ancient Native American culture that has captivated many at the Millstone Bluffs archaeological hike. Plaques along the trail explain the indigenous history in the area while reminders of centuries past are unveiled before our eyes. Find fun for everyone at Lake Glendale. This large recreational area includes a large lake perfect for boating, recreation areas, hiking and horseback riding trails, and boat and horse rental services.

 To make the most of your Southern Illinois hiking experience, find more information on resources in the area of your specific hike, in-depth information on Shawnee National Forest hiking from firsthand experience, or statistics and general facts and guidelines for hiking in the Shawnee National Forest.

Shawnee National Forest Hikes                                                             

Dixon Springs State Park  War Bluff Sanctuary
Burden Falls Wilderness Area Lusk Creek Wilderness
Millstone Bluffs Archaeological Area     Lake Glendale Recreation Area


Bell Smith Springs
The Bell Smith Springs trail system extends 8 miles into the heart of Shawnee National Forest. Enjoy spotting rare plants and unique birds that call this area home while experiencing exciting and unique landmarks and views like Devil’s Backbone and the tallest natural land bridge in Southern Illinois.

Jackson Falls Wilderness Area
The Jackson Falls wilderness areas offers hikers wonderful views of Jackson Falls when the creek is full. When water is low, Jackson Falls is home to one of the most diverse rock climbing and bouldering areas in Southern Illinois.