Jackson Falls Wilderness Area


Jackson Falls Wilderness Area has over 500 different rock climbing routes, and at least 6 permanent anchors for Sport Climbing. Routes include roofs, slabs, pockets, and slopers providing a variety of climbing experiences for climbers of various skill levels. The sandstone surfaces provide excellent traction, though they can be slippery when wet. These Southern Illinois cliffs range from 30-70 feet in height and difficulty levels are no less than 5.0 and peak at 5.13c.

This wilderness area is littered with free standing boulders that offer wonderful bouldering opportunities with over 63 known routes to choose from. Routes range in difficulty from 2V to 10V. Add your unique spin to your climb and discover and name your own route in the Shawnee National Forest. Other climbing opportunities in the area are available in Dixon Springs.



When you finish your Southern Illinois rock climbing adventure, enjoy the wonderful local nightlife or kick back and relax around a warm campfire at any of the local Cabins or Campgrounds. Live music can be found at many local taps or as evening entertainment in many of the local wineries and vineyards that dot the area. Find great views, wonderful people, and the most pristine natural areas that Shawnee National Forest has to offer.

From IL-145, turn West toward Bell Smith Springs Road. Pass McCormick and Zion Hill Church. Turn left (South) onto Forest Road 494. Drive into the trailhead and hike back to drop in at the top of the falls or drive a little further down the road to hike into the bottom of the falls and begin your ascent. Camping is permitted in this area. Roads can be rough and may flood with excess rain, occasionally the roads will be closed to through traffic, please take caution.