Shawnee National Forest

Shawnee National Forest is a big section of national forest in Southern Illinois near Carbondale.



During the Illinoisan Stage (between 352,000 to 132,000 years ago), the Laurentide ice sheet covered up to 85 percent of Illinois. The southern area of this ice sheet was located in what is now the Shawnee National Forest. Because of this, there are tons of interesting and spectacular bluffs and overlooks located throughout the entire park. The geologic processes that formed the landscape are partially responsible for the presence of important mineral resources, including some of national significance.


There are no fees to enter the Shawnee National Forest.


The Garden of the Gods Recreation Area has a 1/4 mile long trail that winds through a collection of rock formations perched on a Cliff.

Rock Formation at the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area


Trail End Restaurant at Double M Campground, 5320 Thacker Hollow Rd, Junction, IL.


Shawnee Hills Wine Trail



There are 7 campground areas in the national forest with rates from $10 to $36.


Primitive camping is allowed year round with no fees.

Stay Safe

Like much of the South, in which extreme Southern Illinois resembles in some ways, there is the risk of running into a few different species of poisonous snakes: cottonmouths (water moccasins), copperheads, and timber rattlers. Be vigilant and use common sense when hiking; some parks may well have more of a population or frequency of encounters then others. In fact, a portion of the National Forest is closed off each year to allow for the ritual snake migrations that take place there (protecting you and the snakes from harassment). Ticks, which can carry a multitude of diseases including Lyme's Disease, are also very common in the warmer months.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, January 28, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.