Visitor's Guide
Outdoor Adventures
Hiking, Biking, Camping, Equestrian, etc... A network of trails and scenic routes offer visitors numerous opportunities to experience the year-round beauty of the Shawnee National Forest. All trails in the forest are open to foot traffic and most trails are open for horse travel.

Camping in the Shawnee National Forest is fun, whether you like to rough it or prefer convienences. Pitch a tent or park a trailer for a modest fee in one of 7 developed campgrounds. Most have drinking water, restrooms, tables and grills or fire rings. Lowering rock formations, peaceful rivers and streams, and historic sites provide backdrops and side trips while you camp or picnic.

The forest offers two swimming beaches: Lake Glendale and Pounds Hollow. Lake Glendale beach is operated by a concessionaire where lifeguards, food and drink are provided and a fee is charged.

Bring your boat, canoe, kayak or sailboat to enjoy the thousands of acres of water in southern Illinois. Lakes, ponds, creeks and streams in and near the forest offer boaters picturesque settings for summertime rides in the sun. You will long remember your trip as your boat glides on a shimmering lake surrounded by the forested hill country. Full service public marinas are located on Kinkaid Lake, Lake of Egypt, Crab Orchard Lake and the Ohio River.
Hunting and Fishing
Whitetail deer, squirrels, rabbits, Canadian Geese, quail, ducks and wild turkeys are but a few reasons why hunting is so popular in the Shawnee National Forest. The Forest Service manages both forested and open land areas to provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife species.

Hunting season, regulations, hunting licenses, special permits or wildlife stamp information can be obtained from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at .

Fishing is one of those popular sports that are done here year-round. Trophy-sized bluegill, sunfish, catfish, white and yellow bass, crape, and, of course, large-mouth and spotted bass trophies have been taken from area waters. Striped bass and hybrid striped bass can also be caught from the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Fishing enthusiasts, from the worm-and-bobber crowd to those on the tournament circuit, have a field day in April and May as the waters warm and the fish begin to feed actively. The fun for many continues throughout the warm months and into mild southern Illinois winters.

Looking for a challenge? Take your bass or crappie rig and motor the mighty Ohio Rivers and its world-famous Smithland Pool. Anglers call the Ohio River and 22 streams that enter it from Illinois one of southern Illinois’ best kept secrets.

There is no shortage of marinas, boat and motor rentals, or bait and tackle supplies, from private establishments and other agencies that manage lakes in and near the forest. An Illinois fishing license is required.
The Prehistoric Native American occupation of this area began about 11,500 years ago. Walk short interpretive trails and learn more about these early cultures by visiting Millstone Bluff Trail or Rim Rock National Recreation Trail.

Natural bluffs millions of years old stand guard over forested hill country. Cliffside vistas and interesting outcroppings draw thousands of people each year. This area is so impressive that Captain Lewis wrote about them in his journal when the Corps of Discovery passed through the area preparing for their expedition in 1804.

In 1933, at the request of local citizens, the federal government began to acquire lands that would later be designated the Shawnee National Forest. Through active forest management, the eroded lands of yesterday have become the forested hills of today. You are invited to visit and enjoy the interesting but fragile archaeological areas that are protected for you and future generations’ enjoyment. All archaeological sites, both prehistoric Native American and historic farmsteads are protect by law from collecting and vandalism. Remember to walk gently and touch only with your eyes.