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Are you a true outdoor enthusiast who enjoys wine tasting, hiking, biking, water sports, zip lineing, and much more?! The Shawnee National Forest encompasses more than 270,000 acres in southern Illinois and is home to outstanding natural areas which offer numerous outdoor activities. Bordered to the east and west by the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Shawnee National Forest flourishes with vegetation, wildlife, and recreational opportunities. On your visit to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail enjoy the abundant recreational amenities within your reach!

Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour

Illinois’ first entirely tree-based, eco-friendly zip line canopy tour, located on 83 wooded acres surrounded by the Shawnee National Forest. Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour consists of eight zip lines, the longest stretching more than 1,100 feet, which will zig zag across the property’s bluffs and through the valley. The tour also includes 11 platforms high in the trees, three aerial suspension bridges and two short ground hikes.A canopy tour is an exciting way to experience the flora, fauna, geology and history of the outdoors by safely traversing an established route of ziplines and aerial bridges between platforms built in the trees, and……they are just plain FUN!

Keller's Crossing at Stone Creek

Newly renovated, we offer a challenging and beautiful course carved out of a tree orchard on the edge of the Shawnee National Forest. With its naturally rolling hills, and remarkable views over the Giant City ravine, you’re sure to enjoy your time with us. Enjoy fine dining, a special event or wedding, overnight stays and great, family hospitality, all at Keller’s Crossing. Not only can we take care of the “guy’s golf trip”, but with all the amenities in the area, and our central location to them all, we are a perfect destination for the family as well!

Bald Knob Cross of Peace

Located atop Bald Knob Mountain in Alto Pass, Illinois, the Bald Knob Cross of Peace is 111 feet tall and can be seen for over 50 miles.  A monument of peace, faith, charity, and hope, the base of this southern Illinois landmark sets at 1,034 feet on one of the highest points in the region.  Several events are hosted here each year including Easter Sunrise Service, the Blessing of the Bikes each April and a Blessing of the Cars event.

Be sure to check out the new visitor center and see how pigs/piglets played an important role in how this unique landmark came to be.


Pomona Natural Bridge

Located just a short walk from your vehicle lies one of southern Illinois’ unique treasures.  Follow the rustic, well marked path and enjoy a short hike with high reward.  This natural bridge, approximately 90 feet long, 8 feet wide and about 30-feet in the air was formed by years of erosion.  Walk on top of the bridge to view the oak, hickory and beech forest below or follow the path that descends to the creek bottom which reveals a view of the natural bridge hanging in mid-air as you walk underneath the bridge.

Little Grand Canyon

Forget what you’ve heard about Illinois being nothing but flat prairie land. Tucked away along southern Illinois’ scenic wine trail, the Little Grand Canyon offers a 365 foot climb from the canyon floor and a panoramic view of the Big Muddy River and the Mississippi floodplain. The 3.6 mile Little Grand Canyon Trail, which can take 3-4 hours to complete, starts off as an easy-going asphalt/gravel path along Hickory Ridge, the southern lip of the canyon. The ground drops off sharply on either side of the trail, allowing visitors to peer down on the oak and hickory forest from above. Several benches along the path give park-goers the opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery at leisure.

Giant City Stables

Enjoy the beauty of Giant City State Park on horseback. All rides are guided by our experienced wranglers with our most popular ride being 3.2 miles long and lasting about one hour. Experience the beauty of our deeply wooded trails, creeks and small streams on horseback. Want to experience the wonders of the forest without breaking a sweat? Come see us and let our horses do the work. Reservations are recommended.

Tunnel Hill Trail

Have a love for biking? Visit Tunnel Hill Bike Trail, home of nine scenic trail options, varying in length from 16 – 95 miles.  The Tunnel Hill State Trail runs from Harrisburg to Karnak, Illinois and follows the former bed of a part of the Cairo and Vincennes Railroad, a transportation unit led during its early years by Civil War General Ambrose Burnside.

Jackson Falls

Wooded hills, winding trails and the beauty of sandstone rocks draw people to the area for a variety of activities including:  hiking, rock climbing, mushroom hunting and nature viewing.  Jackson Falls has the largest number of climbing routes in Illinois and offers great opportunities for technical climbing.

LaRue Pine Hills

LaRue-Pine Hills is a protected area within the Shawnee National Forest.  Wind and water carved the beautiful limestone rock formations of LaRue-Pine Hills and the 350-foot limestone bluffs that now rise out of the Mississippi floodplain. These massive bluffs extend roughly 5 miles along Highway 3 are as impressive today as they were to explorers Merriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1803.

Garden of the Gods

More than 320 million years ago, the wind and rain patiently started to chisel away at large deposits of sedimentary rock located in what is now, Shawnee National Forest . Over the years, the elements have sculpted some of the most stunning and extraordinary rock formations known to man. This garden of sandstone sculptures and vast untouched wilderness was fittingly named Garden of the Gods.

Cache River Wetlands

Featuring ancient cypress-tupelo swamps, bottomland hardwood forests, sandstone bluffs and limestone glades, the Cache River Wetlands is a rich and diverse area that provides habitat for many unique and fascinating plants and animals. With its wooded hills and cypress swamps, it would be easy to mistake this magical place for Louisiana rather than Illinois.

Giant City State Park

With its breathtaking natural beauty and unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation, a trip to Giant City State Park near Carbondale is sure to delight visitors of all ages. From camping and horseback riding to fishing and rappelling, it’s an outdoor lover’s paradise. Visitors will marvel at the many wilderness trails. Especially popular is a hike on Giant City Nature Trail, home of the Giant City Streets; huge bluffs of sandstone formed 12,000 years ago.