- On the Shawnee National Forest, in southern Illinois, you can enjoy the varied natural resources of the largest, most diversified treasure in the state. Major highways lead to this Forest. Find some of the most beautiful scenery in the Midwest. The Shawnee lies between two mighty rivers, the Ohio and the Mississippi, which have influenced the history and culture of southern Illinois
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Shawnee National Forest
The Shawnee has some unique features. Garden of the Gods offers some unique rock formations, including Camel Rock and Devil's Smokestack. Spectacular bluffs highlight the LaRue Hills area. The River to River Trail stretches from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail passes through the Forest and commemorates the tragic march of the Cherokee Nation. The American Discovery Trail, Rim Rock National Recreation Trail, and Inspiration Point National Recreation Trail also lead through the Shawnee National Forest.
For scenic drives, travel the Shawnee Hills on the Ohio National Scenic Byway. This byway travels 70 miles through some of the most scenic areas of the east side of the Forest. Also, the Pine Hills Scenic Drive offers spectacular views of the Mississippi River bottom lands as it winds atop the bluffs of the Pine Hills.
The Shawnee National Forest encompasses seven designated Wilderness Areas: Bald Knob, Bay Creek, Burden Falls, Clear Springs, Garden of the Gods, Lusk Creek and Panther Den Wildernesses. These wildernesses range in size from 940 acres to 5,900 acres.
Recreation - The Shawnee attracts visitors for its hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, nature study, camping, picnicking, backpacking, birdwatching, scenic driving, berry picking, and mushroom gathering. Numerous lakes, ponds, streams and rivers offer fishing, boating and canoeing. The Forest has three swimming beaches.
Climate - Winters in this area are cool and sometimes cold with occasional snow. Spring and autumn are transitional periods, with normally mild temperatures but occasional seasonal fluctuations. Summers bring warm to hot and often humid days.
The Hoosier National Forest is located in southern Illinois. This Forest is within a day's drive of the metropolitan centers of Cincinnati, Louisville, Chicago, Evansville, and Indianapolis. The Forest headquarters is located in Harrisburg, Illinois, with Forest offices also in Elizabethtown, Jonesboro, Murphysboro and Vienna, Illinois.