FT. Defiance Park

Fort Defiance, known as Camp Defiance during the American Civil War, is a former military fortification located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers near Cairo in Alexander County, Illinois.

Giant City State Park

Visitors can enjoy picturesque natural wonders along Giant City’s hiking trails, and rock climbing/rappelling are permitted in two locations. Open from early February until early December, contact the lodge for reservation information at 618-457-4921 or visit the Giant City Lodge website.

Horseshoe Lake Conservation Area

Located in Alexander County just east of Illinois Route 3, 7 miles north of Cairo, the 10,200 acre area includes a 2,400 acre shallow lake. In addition to taking in the beauty of the natural features of the area, visitors enjoy picnicking, camping, boating, fishing and hunting.

Lake Murphysboro State Park

A 3 mile designated trail offers hikers the opportunity to enjoy the plant, animal and bird life of the park. For those who prefer to explore nature on their own, several paths criss-cross through the park’s wooded hills.

LaRue-Pine Hills

LaRue-Pine Hills’ unique physical characteristics dictate and support a rich biodiversity not found anywhere else in the country. In all, the area covers about 4.5 square miles (3547 acres).

Refer to the LaRue-Pine Hills brochure/map to learn more about this very special place within the Shawnee National Forest.

Pomona Natural Bridge

Pomona Natural Bridge Trail is a 0.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Pomona, Illinois that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Quetil Trail

Quetil Trail is a 2.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Alto Pass, Illinois that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, rock climbing, and nature trips.

The Confluence Of Ohio & Mississippi Rivers

Take a short hike down to the campsite of Lewis & Clark on the evening of November 14th, 1803. Here, you can enjoy preserved history where the Ohio & Mississippi rivers meet.

Trail Of Tears State Forest

The fire trails are open all year for hiking. There are hiking trails at Trail of Tears State Forest, including one designed for cross country running. Other trails pass through hills and valleys where one can appreciate the lush vegetation and abundant wildlife. See the trail map link here.

Union County State Fish And Wildlife Area

Explore the most popular trails in Union County with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. Check out the site brochure before heading out to Jonesboro!

River To River Trail

Spanning from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River, this 160-mile trail passes through some of the most scenic areas of southern Illinois, including upland forests, wetlands, grasslands and bluffs. 


Cache River State Natural Area

More than 18 miles of designated foot trails exists within Cache River State Natural Area. Other than Little Black Slough Trail and Tupelo Trail which are considered moderate in difficulty, the trails are easy to walk. A 5-mile segment of the 45-mile-long Tunnel Hill State Trail passes through the region, providing expanded opportunities for hikers and cyclists.

Fort Massac State Park

The park contains a 1 mile loop trail through grassy woods with the trailhead near the fort. This trail is designated as a Forest Watch Tree Identification Trail and brochures are available in the visitors’ center. The 2.5-mile Hickory Nut Ridge Trail shouldn’t be missed, as it takes hikers along the scenic Ohio River.

George Rogers Clark Discovery Trail

The George Rogers Clark Discovery Trail is an 8.7 mile bicycle/pedestrian trail connecting the cities of Metropolis and Brookport through Massac County and Fort Massac State Park. Approximately 4.0 miles of the trail is within the confines of Fort Massac State Park with most of the trail on a dedicated bike path and a small section using a shared roadway.

Millstone Bluff

A woodchip 3/4-mile trail interprets the ancient Indian village site on the top of this bluff. A noticeable high point, Millstone Bluff was utilized by both the Woodland and Mississippian Indians. The preservation of natural heritage sites like this one will enable us to uncover more about these past cultures.

Tunnel Hill State Trail

Tunnel Hill State Trail stretches for 45 miles from Harrisburg to Karnak. The trail continues on a trails spur for 2.5 miles from Karnak to Cache River State Natural Area – Henry Barkhausen Wetlands Center on the old Chicago and Eastern Illinois railroad bed.


Cave-In-Rock State Park Lodge & Cabins

TIn addition to the natural splendor of the cave itself, the park contains two established hiking trails of moderate difficulty, plus numerous unmarked trails for exploration and appreciation of tranquil forests and inspiring views.

Dixon Springs State Park

There is a self-guided, 1.7-mile nature trail and a 1-mile trail through Ghost Dance Canyon.  Picnic tables and outdoor stoves are available at three shaded picnic areas. A picnic shelter, playgrounds, parking areas, and drinking water are also available.

Garden Of The Gods Recreation Area

The most popular hike in the Shawnee National Forest, Garden of the Gods gives tourists amazing insight into the geologic structure of Southern Illinois and a view that stretches for miles high over the pristine hills of Shawnee Forest.

Lake Glendale Recreation Area

Surrounded by tall pine trees and mixed hardwood forests, Lake Glendale Recreation Area offers a wide range of recreation opportunities including hiking, camping, swimming, boating, fishing and bicycling.

Rim Rock/Pounds Hollow Recreation Area

A wonderfully scenic trail, Rim Rock National Recreation Trail leads around the rim of a rock escarpment, hence its name. Mid-way along the trail is an opportunity to descend wooden stairs, and pass between rock slabs to reach the hollow below.

Sahara Woods State Fish & Wildlife Area

Sahara Woods is located 5 miles west of Harrisburg, Illinois; south of State Route 13. The site is made up of vacated strip mine land, and encompasses approximately 4000 acres. Sahara Lake and numerous strip cuts make up approximately 270 acres of fishable water. 

Shawnee National Forest

In the southern tip of Illinois lies the rolling Shawnee Hills where 289,000 acres await you to relax, unwind and explore the Shawnee National Forest. Here you will find vast forests, wetlands and rugged bluffs home to a variety of plants and animals. The natural beauty of the area is ideal for all types of outdoor recreation.

Tower Rock Recreation Area

Located along the banks of the Ohio River, Tower Rock Campground offers beautiful scenery and close proximity to water activities like fishing and boating. The 1/4 mile trail can be accessed near the boat launch. Be aware this area is prone to flooding when river levels fluctuate.

War Bluff Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

Several miles of maintained trails wind through the various habitats including upland and bottom land forest, shrub and regenerating forest, and open land. Simmons Creek is a beautiful rock bottom clear creek that runs through the middle of the property, with its many tributaries encountered throughout.

Williams Hill Pass OHV Park & Campground

Williams Hill Pass offers 226 acres of forest and field trails for off-highway vehicles (OHV – ATV)