We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Shawnee Forest area

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,966 posts
1 review
Shawnee Forest area

I'm considering visiting the Shawnee Forest area on my road trip from Kansas City to Louisville. I'm really into hiking and photography. I'm looking for recommendations on some decent 6-10 mile hikes, that offer some great views. Perhaps up a mountain or round some lakes etc.

Where would everyone recommend staying? I'd like a fairly big town, that has some bars open til late - mightnight/1am type time.

5 replies to this topic
Chicago's North...
Destination Expert
for Illinois, Chicago
Level Contributor
8,312 posts
327 reviews
1. Re: Shawnee Forest area

One of the biggest towns in the area is carbondale, home of southern illinois university.... since it’s a college town, there are plenty of bars and dining options, along with many chain hotels....... if you go during the school year (after mid august), the bars will be hopping... there are also hotel options in marion and a number of B&B’s and inns scattered around southern illinois as it’s an up and coming winelands region.... also, the giant city lodge is pretty cool.... but, for what you’re looking for, carbondale is the way to go....

IMO:

*Best photo op’s—-garden of the gods, giant city state park, ferne clyffe state park (IF it’s been raining), la rue pine hills, bald knob cross, cave in rock, and possibly little grand canyon.

*Best hiking—little grand canyon, giant city, and garden of the gods. Also, check out natural bridge.

*Best paddling—canoeing the cache river swamp.

There are no mountains in illinois, BUT, southern illinois has some decent hills with a bit of relief and rock formations, along with a mix of man-made lakes.... the most scenic lakes are cedar lake, devils kitchen and little grassy lakes.... the kincaid lake spillway is a nice spot, with a nice scenic overlook of the mississippi river valley nearby, but not much hiking... if you go during the school year, these spots in the vicinity of c-dale will likely be crowded, especially on the weekends..... and, if you go in late october, you’ll likely be there during peak leaf-peeping season....

https://southernmostillinois.com/

https://www.illinoisouth.org/

Illinois
Destination Expert
for Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
57,774 posts
67 reviews
2. Re: Shawnee Forest area

http://www.carbondaletourism.org/

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,966 posts
1 review
3. Re: Shawnee Forest area

Fantastic thanks for the response. I will look into those areas suggested.

I also notice that there are a couple of vineyards in the area too.

If you had a choice between this area and Mark Twain Forest area is there a clear winner? State bias aside :)

Chicago's North...
Destination Expert
for Illinois, Chicago
Level Contributor
8,312 posts
327 reviews
4. Re: Shawnee Forest area

not familiar with the mark twain forest, but since it's in missouri in closer proximity to the ozarks, it'll likely be more hilly.....

Maryland
Level Contributor
90 posts
5. Re: Shawnee Forest area

Garden of the Gods is not to be missed. There is a short trail to the main feature but a longer trail splits off the other way. Little Grand Canyon is worth the trip as well.

The great thing about Shawnee is the vast difference in landscapes in a relatively small area. Desert like (complete with lizards and cacti) on one side and then major swamplands on the other.

The vineyards in that area aren't the greatest but hit the spot after a hike. Carbondale would be your best spot to stay, as the area is full of tiny towns.

Edited: 09 August 2018, 06:03
Reply to: Shawnee Forest area
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted