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Garden of the Gods
Explore the dramatic rock formations, cliffs and trails of the most visited site in the Shawnee National Forest. Millions of years in the making, the Garden of the Gods provides spectacular views unlike anywhere in the Midwest. See Camel Rock, Anvil Rock, Devil's Smoke Stack and other magnificent rock formations in this hiker’s and photographer’s wonderland.
CITY: Karbers Ridge
Shawnee National Forest
The Shawnee National Forest is famed for its awesome Garden of the Gods, and is home to the Rim Rock Recreational Trail (the forest has a system of 403 miles of equestrian/hiking trails). Hikers are greeted by magnificent jutting walls of rock covered with emerald-green moss, and paths that meander through canyons under the forest canopy. Nestled between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the stunning Shawnee National Forest landscape features rolling hills, lakes, creeks and rugged bluffs. If you’re into climbing than a must-see is Jackson Falls, located near the town of Ozark in the Hidden Springs Ranger District in Shawnee National Forest. The climb takes place on 60 feet of sandstone cliffs and boulders that include numerous freestanding towers.
Tunnel Hill State Trail
Rolling agricultural fields, reclaimed strip mines, ravines, rocky streams and wooded bluffs dominate the northern half of the Tunnel Hill State Trail. With 47.8 miles (one-way) of crushed gravel surface, extended inclines and dark tunnels, this trail is a difficult one, but one not to pass up, as long as you’re up for the challenge. The southern half of the trail explodes with scenery that includes bottomland woods, ponds, streams and marshes. The trail, which winds through seven towns, even touches upon a handful of ghost towns that faded into the landscape after the trains here stopped running.
Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins
Nestled in the beautiful hills of the Shawnee National Forest, Timber Ridge offers something for everyone, from families and honeymooners to outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy some Southern hospitality while staying in a real log cabin or one-of-a-kind treehouse. Each of the units, including the treehouse, is equipped with a bathroom, kitchenette, heating and air conditioning.
Scuba dive at this unique spring-fed stone quarry and marvel at underwater treasures such as a submerged airplane (actually used in the movie U.S. Marshals) and a cement petting zoo. Mermet Springs offers on-site instruction and equipment rental.
Egyptian Hills Resort
Egyptian Hills Resort is your passport to the Ultimate outdoor family vacation. Whether you are into waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, sport fishing, or pleasure boating; the Lake of Egypt is a boater’s paradise. All within a stone’s throw of your cabin. Within minutes of your cabin, your family can enjoy guided expeditions such as; horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, geo-caching, wildlife photography and many other outdoor activities. Whether planning a single activity or multiple activities for your group, we at Egyptian Hills are your personal concierge in planning your ultimate outdoor family vacation. Whether onsite or through one of our partner guides, all activities are tailored for all ages and experience levels.
CITY: Creal Springs
Visit Superman Square in Metropolis to have your picture taken with the 15-foot-tall statue of the Man of Steel. A statue of Lois Lane is located nearby. Across the street is the Super Museum, showcasing rare Superman memorabilia and selling superhero souvenirs.
Cache River State Natural Area
Renowned for its ancient cypress-tupelo swamp, this natural area has been named one of America's 10 Most Beautiful Hidden Gems by Budget Travel. This sprawling area contains 100 threatened or endangered plant and animal species, and 11 state champion trees that have stood for centuries. Visitors enjoy birding, hunting, wildlife watching, canoeing and hiking. Bikers can access the Cache River via the Tunnel Hill State Trail.
Pinnon Lake Cabin
Tucked away in the beautiful rolling hills of Southern Illinois, the cabin location rests on the highly acclaimed Southern Illinois Wine Trail. Pinnon Lake is five minutes from the edge of Shawnee National Forrest. We are only three miles off Interstate 57 at exit 36. Moments from anywhere yet feels like miles from it all. On any given day you may observe deer in the field, geese landing on the lake, a family of wild turkeys at the edge of the woods. In the spring you may even take a peek at our new baby calves, as the property is a third generation working family farm.
Rim Rock's Dogwood Cabins
A nature lover's dream, Rim Rock offers cabins with all the amenities in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest, adjacent to the popular Rim Rock Recreational Trail and Garden of the Gods. Rim Rock's is within short driving distance of all Southern Illinois has to offer, and features its own private hiking trail on its 77-acre site.
The Super Museum houses the mythical caped hero from the big green planet. The museum is filled with a $2.5 billion collection spanning 60 years, honoring the most famous hero of all time.
Located near the town of Ozark in the Shawnee National Forest, Jackson Falls offers arguably the best rock climbing in southern Illinois. There are roughly 60 climbing areas along the sandstone bluffs and freestanding boulders, each with multiple named routes on them. There are over 500 named routes in all. Most of the routes are 50-60 feet in height. The whole area sits in a very scenic glen. Most of the routes at Jackson Falls are sport routes, though there are a number of traditional routes, and a few areas suitable for setting up a top-rope. There are also many excellent bouldering opportunities here.
Southern Illinois Wine Trail
Illinois' newest wine trail connects six wineries dotted throughout the southeast corner of the state. Visitors can enjoy both breathtaking vistas and friendly rural communities, all while sampling excellent red and white wines.
Metropolis, Home of Superman, holds a celebration the second weekend in June each year celebrating the 'Man of Steel'. A Superman Drama kicks off the weekend of contests, music, food and fun, as well as a comic book & artist show, fan films, street vendors, a carnival, costume contest and a Super Car Show.
Cedar Rock Cabins
Fully furnished cabins in the Shawnee National Forest. Wooded paths wind up and down the hills past rock formations. Enjoy the screened in porch at dusk and view area wildlife. Relax in the hot tub under the stars.
River to River Trail
If you want to truly experience the Shawnee National Forest, and Southern Illinois, then the River-to-River Trail in Illinois is for you. The Trail spans 160 miles of Illinois from Battery Rock on the Ohio River to Devil’s Backbone Park in Grand Tower Illinois on the Mississippi River, and it can take up to 2-3 weeks to complete in its entirety. With a combination of plains, bayous, bluffs and upland forests, there’s something for everyone to feast their eyes on. And, with difficulty levels ranging from easy to hard there’s a path for everyone in your party to enjoy.
CITY: Karbers Ridge
Little Grand Canyon Trail
The Little Grand Canyon trail is located within the Shawnee National Forest. Experience the easy 3.6 miles of beauty it offers as you ride your bike or hike these fun trails that meander past lush wooded canyons, riverside bluffs, songbirds, woodpeckers and deer; while hawks and vultures soar high above the cliffs. Explore towering rock walls, eroded sandstone canyons, craggy bluffs and moist bottom lands, too.
Harrah's Metropolis Casino
Located on the picturesque Ohio River, Harrah's Casino is conveniently located adjacent to the hotel’s main lobby, the modern design, single-level casino floor features new slots, table games and a World Series of Poker room. The Casino offers a lounge, three new bars and a live entertainment stage on the property.. Harrah's often offers special stay-and-play packages at its 252-room hotel that's located adjacent to the casino.
Bald Eagle Watching in the Cache River Wetlands
The Cache River Wetlands offers great opportunities for eagle watching, as well as spotting other birds. The Cache River Wetland Center provides resource and identification materials to help you spot eagles and other birds in the area and along the rivers. They will provide maps and directions to the viewing station for the nest just off Illinois Route 37 off Perks road and south of the visitor's center.
Nestled in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. Excellent deer and turkey hunting. Only 6 miles to the Ohio River and Golconda Marina, but still tucked away in the forest. Just above Lusk Creek. Come visit our little piece of heaven in the Shawnee.
Americana Hollywood Museum
An amazing tribute to America's most famous Hollywood icons, features life-size figures, wardrobes, costumes, movie props, posters, dolls, statues and celebrity collectibles from around the world. Americana Hollywood is a museum dedicated to Hollywood of yesterday and today. Located 2 blocks from Harrah’s Casino you will find collections from Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Pamela Anderson and Angelina Jolie, just to name a few. Come stroll through the outdoor statues and have your picture taken with the Blues Brothers or on the set of a Western ghost town. There is so much to see and do at this museum!
Bear Branch Lodging
Features 5 cabins and a lodging facility on the highest hilltop in Pope County, overlooking and literally surrounded by the beautiful Shawnee National Forest. Most cabins have private baths, kitchenettes and charcoal grills outside.
Egyptian Hills Marina Lodging
Egyptian Hills Resort is your passport to the Ultimate outdoor family vacation. Whether you are into waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, sport fishing, or pleasure boating; the Lake of Egypt is a boater’s paradise. All within a stone’s throw of your cabin. Our cabins and chalets sit next to soothing, running streams and waterfalls – with breathtaking lake front views. Each cabin/chalet features a full kitchen, living room, large deck, full bedroom, 2 loft bedrooms and full bath.
CITY: Creal Springs
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is located primarily in Williamson County, with small extensions into eastern Jackson and northeastern Union counties of southern Illinois. At almost 44,000 acres and with three lakes, Crab Orchard, Little Grassy, and Devils Kitchen, endless opportunities abound for watching wildlife, hiking nature trails, photography, swimming, fishing from the bank or by boat, and hunting. Four seasonally operational campgrounds are open from April-October and offer full hook-up, water, electric, or non-electric sites. Refuge staff and volunteers at the visitor center welcome visitors and sightseers 7 days a week from 8am-4:30pm. Visitor activities such as guided hikes, bald eagle tours, and monthly F.U.N. programs help connect families with the diversity of flora and fauna that southern Illinois has to offer. The Refuge provides many opportunities for wildlife-dependent outdoor recreation for the nature lover in us all.