State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes We will comfortably and safely transport your group of six or less adults to the wineries, vineyards, orchards and other unique destinations of Jackson and Union counties. http://shawneeshuttle.com Wed, 24 May 2017 04:01:51 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Bald Knob Cross on Bald Knob Mountain http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Bald-Knob-Cross-on-Bald-Knob-Mountain.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Bald-Knob-Cross-on-Bald-Knob-Mountain.html Bald Knob Cross stands 111 feet tall atop Bald Knob Mountain in Alto Pass, IL. The Cross serves as a symbol of peace and was first conceived in the 1930's. Construction on the cross was completed in the 1960's. Currently, Bald Knob Cross is undergoing a much-needed restoration project generated by the Friends of Bald Knob Cross. Reconstruction of the white siding on the cross and relighting of the cross should be complete by June 2010.

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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 25 Aug 2009 22:06:36 +0000
Cache River State Natural Area http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Cache-River-State-Natural-Area.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Cache-River-State-Natural-Area.html

Information courtesey of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

"Cache River State Natural Area is situated in southernmost Illinois within a floodplain carved long ago by glacial floodwater of the Ohio River. When the Ohio River adopted its present course, it left the Cache River to meander across rich and vast wetlands. Among the outstanding natural features found within the area today are massive cypress trees whose flared bases, called buttresses, exceed 40 feet circumference. Many are more than 1,000 years old, including one that has earned the title of state champion bald cypress because of its huge trunk girth, towering height, and heavily branched canopy.

It is within southern Illinois that north meets south and east meets west. With its diversity of soils, bedrock and landforms, the Cache River Valley contains four distinct ecological regions. Its hodgepodge of ecological factors has resulted in a collage of natural communities, each with its own unique assemblage of physical attributes, plants and animals.

Not surprisingly, people have rallied to protect the Cache River watershed. The National Park Service has designated two National Natural Landmarks within its borders - Bottomland Swamp and Heron Pond. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has identified three Nature Preserves here - Section 8 Woods, Heron Pond-Wildcat Bluff and Little Black Slough - and registered 10,367 acres of the area's 14,489 acres in the Land and Water Reserve Program. These designations assure that the site management will emphasize restoration and preservation of the area's natural characteristics.

Totaling 14,489 acres in Johnson, Massac and Pulaski counties, Cache River State Natural Area is composed of three distinct management units - Little Black Slough, Lower Cache River Swamps and Glass Hill.

Hiking:
There are more than 18 miles of designated foot trails within Cache River State Natural Area. Other than Little Black Slough Trail and Tupelo Trail which are considered moderate in difficulty, the trails are easy to walk. Trail length is based on round trip distances.

Todd Fink-Heron Pond Trail (1.5 miles) with access at the Heron Pond access area: This easy trail includes a truss bridge over the Cache River and features a floating boardwalk to the middle of Heron Pond's cypress pond. There are 10 interpretive panels located along the trail.

Little Black Slough Trail (5.5 miles) with access via Wildlife Bluff, Marshall Ridge and Heron Pond areas: Bald cypress and tupelo swamps, sandstone bluffs, floodplain forests and hillside glades highlight this moderately difficult trail that gives hikers passage to Boss Island. A rock ford on the Cache River, difficult to cross during high water, must be negotiated 1.5 miles west of the Wildcat Bluff access.

Lookout Point Trail (1 mile) with access east of the Wildcat Bluff access area: Taking visitors along the edge of a high-quality hillside barrens, this trail provides an overview of the Cache River, its swamps and floodplain forest.

Linkage Trail (2.4 miles) with access via Heron Pond, Wildcat Bluff and Marshall Ridge areas: Linking Heron Pond Trail and Little Black Slough Trail, this easy hike offers a chance to observe the state champion cherrybark oak tree.

Marshall Ridge Trail (2.8 miles) with access via the Marshall Ridge area: Winding through reforested fields, this easy trail connects with the Linkage Trail and provides a gateway to Heron Pond or Little Black Slough.

Tupelo Trail (2.5 miles) with access via Marshall Ridge Trail and access area: This moderately difficult trail begins a quarter-mile north of the Marshall Ridge access area and goes through rolling upland forest to the southern shoreline of Little Black Slough. It gives excellent views of cypress, tupelo gum trees and swamp.

Lower Cache River Swamp Trail (2.5 miles) with access via the Lower Cache River area: Paralleling Boardwalk through swamp Cypress Creek and Cache River on a high earth berm, this trail takes hikers to a cypress and tupelo swamp. It is a great place to hear the rhythmic croaking of tree frogs at dusk in the spring. With 3,000 linear feet surfaced in aggregate, much of the trail is accessible year-round, except during periods of flooding. A 1,000-foot handicapped- accessible trail, located west of the toilet, ends with a viewing platform overlooking the swamp. A 20' x 28' picnic shelter is available with privy toilets, water hydrant and drinking fountain.

Big Cypress Tree Trail (250 feet) with access via the Big Cypress area on the Lower Cache River: This short flood-plain forest trail takes visitors to one of the bald cypress trees older than 1,000 years and whose base circumference is more than 40 feet.

Section 8 Woods Nature Preserve Boardwalk (475 feet) with access via Section 8 Woods area: Passing through a cypress-tupelo swamp and a flood-plain forest, this handicapped-accessible boardwalk ends with a view of the state champion water tupelo. Along the boardwalk, 10 tree species are identified and there is an interpretive panel on nature preserves and champion trees.

Canoes on the Cache River 
The Lower Cache River Trail offers paddlers a quality canoe experience, 3 to 6 miles in length, through magnificent cypress-tupelo swamp. The highlight of the trail is Illinois' largest, and, therefore, state champion bald cypress tree. Like many trees within the Cache River State Natural Area, it is more than 1,000 years old.

Canoeists can begin at the Lower Cache River access area or at a private boat launch ($1 fee) south of Perks. Car shuttles are not necessary. The trail is marked with international canoe symbols and arrows and/or yellow stripes on trees. Canoe maps and fact sheets are available at the site headquarters or wetlands center. While canoeing the Lower Cache River is quite enjoyable, paddlers should be aware that the Upper Cache River is difficult if not impossible to canoe."

Cache River State Natural Area
930 Sunflower Lane
Belknap, IL
618.634.9678

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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Mon, 07 Sep 2009 03:20:04 +0000
Cedar Lake http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Cedar-Lake.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Cedar-Lake.html

Cedar Lake is located just south of Carbondale, IL, and is reasonably a major source of pride for the city. Cedar Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in all of southern Illinois, with a scenic wooded shoreline that has been protected from over-development. Swimming is permitted at the public beach for a small fee.

Beach hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The Poplar Camp Beach sandy waterfront leads to a swim and play area, an area for rafts and floats, and a lap lane. Red Cross certified lifeguards are on duty during beach hours, and the Carbondale Police patrol the beach. Restrooms, picnic tables, and a concession stand are also available. The fee for a single admission is $2.00 and children 4 years of age and younger are admitted free. Ten (10) visit passes are available for $15.00 and twenty (20) visit passes are available for $25.00.

Cedar Lake
618-549-8441
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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 25 Aug 2009 21:28:02 +0000
Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Crab-Orchard-Wildlife-Refuge.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Crab-Orchard-Wildlife-Refuge.html Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Fact Sheet: (courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

* Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge was established by the Department of the Interior s Fish and Wildlife Service on August 5, 1947.

* Crab Orchard NWR is 44,000 acres of land and water containing a wide diversity of flora and fauna.

* Major habitat types include hardwood forest, agricultural land, grazing units, brushland, wetlands, and lakes.

* Wintering numbers of Canada geese can peak at 200,000.

* There is approximately 700 plant species, 245 bird species, 33 mammal species, 63 fish species, and 44 reptile and amphibian species that can be found on the Refuge.

* The western 24,000 acres of the Refuge provide a wide range of recreational opportunities and also feature a 4,050 acre wilderness area.

* The eastern 20,000 acres of the Refuge is a wildlife sanctuary and public use is limited.

* Annual visitation is approximately 1,000,000 visitors.

* Industrial activities on the Refuge range from manufacturing and storage facilities to administrative offices. Many buildings now housing industries were used in the manufacturing of explosives during World War II, and they are still used for military ordnance production today.

* There are approximately 175 bunkers (concrete igloos) found on the Refuge. These were originally built for munition storage and are now leased to private industry for storage of many types of products. Two of these bunkers have been utilized as bat bunkers for hibernation of local bat populations.

* Approximately 4,000 acres of cropland are managed with the help of local farmers. The farmers sharecrop the Refuge land, harvesting a percentage of the crops and leaving the rest in the field for wildlife.

* Hay cutting and cattle grazing are also permitted on approximately 2,000 acres of Refuge land. Cattle graze the pastures all summer and are removed in October to give the arriving geese undisturbed use of the area.

* Moist soil wetlands are maintained to create shallow feeding areas for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. During normal years, water levels in moist soil units are lowered during the summer to encourage the establishment of moist soil vegetation. Water levels are then raised during the fall to make the seeds produced by moist soil plants available to waterfowl.

* Upland habitat is maintained using fire and timber management. Controlled burning is very carefully used to remove vegetation that often is too dense and to assist with the removal of invasive plant species.

* Crab Orchard NWR includes three man-made lakes: Crab Orchard, Little Grassy, and Devils Kitchen.

* Crab Orchard Lake was created in 1938 and is approximately 7,000 acres, with an average depth of 9 feet.

* Little Grassy Lake was created in 1951 and is approximately 1,000 acres, with an average depth of 35 feet.

* Devils Kitchen Lake was created in 1959 and is approximately 810 acres, with an average depth of 40 feet.

* The closed area of the Refuge includes approximately 80 small ponds which are used as wading areas for ducks and geese.

* The Refuge includes 33 cemeteries, 21 of which are in the closed area of the Refuge. Many of these cemeteries date back to the 1800 s.

* There are approximately 275 bluebird houses on the Refuge.

* 56% of the Refuge is covered by forests. One refuge goal has been to manage for productive oak-hickory forest dominated by native species. Examples of wildlife that use Refuge forests are deer, squirrels, raccoons, hawks, owls, and a variety of migratory and resident forest birds.

* Approximately 20 percent of the Refuge is covered by open water, almost all of it in man-made reservoirs. Open water serves as habitat for warm-water sport fish, waterfowl and other water birds.

* Cropland covers about 10 percent of the Refuge. Examples of wildlife that use cropland are deer, Canada goose, northern bobwhite, and turkey.

* Wetlands cover about 6 percent of the Refuge. The majority of these wetlands are bottomland hardwood forests and moist soil units. Examples of wildlife that use grassland are deer, rabbit, northern bobwhite, grasshopper sparrow, loggerhead shrike, Bell s vireo, and field sparrow.

* About 2 percent of the Refuge is covered by shrubland. Most Refuge shrubland is the result of abandoning farm and industrial areas. Examples of wildlife that use shrubland are deer, rabbit, loggerhead shrike, Bell s vireo, and field sparrow.

* About 2 percent of the Refuge is covered by developed land. These include: roads and adjacent rights-of-way and industrial, administrative, and recreational facilities.

Established in 1947, the Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge contains 44,000 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands providing habitat for wildlife and recreational opportunities for people. For management purposes, the lands within the refuge have been divided into and Open Area and a Restricted Area. The Open Area contains 23,000 acres of land and water open for recreational uses. The remaining 21,000 acres of the Restricted Area have limited recreational opportunities as they have been set aside for wildlife.

Recreational opportunities within the Refuge are abundant. Visitors partake in boating, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, picnicking, photography, and swimming (at designated beaches) within the boundaries of the Refuge.

Fishing is the most popular recreational activity within Crab Orchard.

Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge
8588 Route 148
Marion, IL
618.997.3344

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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Fri, 10 Apr 2009 06:17:02 +0000
Devil's Kitchen Lake http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Devil-s-Kitchen-Lake.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Devil-s-Kitchen-Lake.html

Devils Kitchen Lake is a man-made reservoir that was created as a part of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in 1959. Devils Kitchen Lake is approximately 810 acres, with an average depth of 40 feet. Known for clear water, Devil's Kitchen Lake maintains the only population of Rainbow Trout. Anglers may also fish for bass, crappie, bluegill and redear year round.

The Fish and Wildlife Service Recreational User Fee must be paid at the Refuge Visitor’s Center on Route 148 south in Marion, IL. Visitors can purchase a 1-day, 5-day, or yearly pass at the center.

  • Devil's Kitchen Boat Dock & Campground
    RR#3, Carbondale, IL 62901
    618.457.5004
  • Visitor's Center
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife
    8588 Route 148
    Marion, IL 62959
    618.997.3344
Contact a local fishing guide for a helping hand:
  • Kinkaid Lake Guide Service
    Professional Illinois Fishing Guide Al Nutty
    537 Illinois Avenue Extension
    Murphysboro, Illinois 62966618.694.4897
  • Chad Cain Guide Service--available September - June
    646 Wood Road
    Carbondale, IL 62901
    618.549.3074
    618.534.1477

  • SnS Guide Service
    Matthew Strobel & Tyson Shoot
    618-922-0354
    618-889-3495
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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 25 Aug 2009 16:30:02 +0000
Fern Clyffe State Park http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Fern-Clyffe-State-Park.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Fern-Clyffe-State-Park.html Fern Clyffe State Park]]> State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 25 Aug 2009 03:28:06 +0000 Garden of the Gods Recreation Area http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Garden-of-the-Gods-Recreation-Area.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Garden-of-the-Gods-Recreation-Area.html

Garden of the Gods Recreation Area is the result of millions of years of years of wild geological processes and extreme erosion. The area was once the shoreline of a giant inland sea that covered western Indiana, Kentucky and parts of southern Illinois. For millions of years great rivers carried sand and mud to the  sea, where it settled along the shoreline. Over time, the weight of the sediments turned them into layers of rock thousands of feet thick. Uplift fractured the bedrock exposing it to nature's erosive forces. Since that time, windblown sand, rain and freezing and thawing actions have worn down the layers of sediment creating the beautiful rock formations at Garden of the Gods. To find out more read the signs along the Observation Trail.

The Observation Trail
The Garden of the Gods Observation Trail is a ¼ mile long interpretive trail. It is made of natural flagstone and leads to areas near the bluffs, where there are  outstanding views of the Shawnee Hills and the Garden of the Gods Wilderness. Visitors will find many interesting rock formations with names such as Camel Rock, Anvil Rock and Devil's Smokestack. The Observation Trail has some short, steep grades and a few steps. However, as a whole, the trail is not tiring. Extreme caution should be used because there are high cliffs in the area.

Trail System
Access is good from Garden of the Gods Recreation Area to the River to River Trail and Garden of the Gods Wilderness. Rocky streams, sheer cliffs, pine stands, hardwood forest, trickling streams, rock overhangs and scenic vistas are encountered along this trail system. Springtime offers abundant wild flowers and rushing streams. Autumn offers beautiful fall colors and ripe fruit, such as persimmons. Users are encouraged to obtain more detailed maps before entering the backcountry. Overnight parking is available at the backpacker's parking lot.

Camping & Picnicking
Pharaoh Campground is open year round. Facilities include 12 campsites, tables, fire grills, toilets, drinking water and trails. Nice views of the Shawnee Hills can be seen from the campground and picnic areas. The Pharaoh Picnic Ground is open year round as in the Observation Area. Call for fees.

Wilderness
Garden of the Gods Wilderness is 3,300 acres in size and is relatively undisturbed. The Garden of the Gods Wilderness borders the Recreation Area on three sides. No motorized vehicles or mechanized equipment is permitted in the Wilderness.

Length:
Observation Trail (stone path) - 1/4 mile

Total Trail System – 5.5 miles (excluding River to River segment)

Travel Time: 3-4 hours

Surface Type: Dirt

Difficulty Level: Easy - Difficult

Facilities: Picnic areas, restrooms, parking, camping, interpretive signs along the Observation Trail.

Safety: Trail tread may be slippery during and after rain.

Please Keep in Mind:
1) Pets are allowed only on a leash.
2) Picnic areas and Observation Trail are open 6am-10pm.
3) Use trash receptacles. Pack It In, Pack It Out rules apply to the entire trail system.
4) Camp only at designated sites in the campground.
5) Disposable food and beverage containers are not permitted on the Observation Trail.
6) Stay on the designated trail and leave the beauty of the rocks and plants for others to enjoy.

* Information courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

Garden of the Gods Recreation Area

Shawnee National Forest Hidden Springs Ranger District (618) 658-2111 2008
The Shawnee Hills took millions of years to form. The rock
formations and cliffs at Garden of the Gods are made of sandstone
and are about 320 million years old. Long ago most of Illinois,
western Indiana and western Kentucky were covered by a giant
inland sea. For millions of years great rivers carried sand and mud to
the sea, where it settled along the shoreline. Over time, the weight of
the sediments turned them into layers of rock thousands of feet thick.
At Garden of the Gods the sediment layers were over 20,000 feet
thick or about 4 miles deep. Eventually, a great uplift occurred,
raising the inland sea above sea level causing it to fill in with sand
and mud. The uplift also fractured the bedrock exposing it to nature’s
erosive forces. Since that time, windblown sand, rain and freezing
and thawing actions have worn down the layers of sediment creating
the beautiful rock formations at Garden of the Gods. To find out
more read the signs along the Observation Trail.
The Observation Trail
The Garden of the Gods Observation Trail is a ¼ mile long
interpretive trail. It is made of natural flagstone and leads to areas
near the bluffs, where there are outstanding views of the Shawnee
Hills and the Garden of the Gods Wilderness. Visitors will find many
interesting rock formations with names such as Camel Rock, Anvil
Rock and Devil’s Smokestack. The Observation Trail has some short,
steep grades and a few steps. However, as a whole, the trail is not
tiring. Caution should be used because there are high cliffs in the
area.
Trail System
Access is good from Garden of the Gods Recreation Area to the
River to River Trail and Garden of the Gods Wilderness. Rocky
streams, sheer cliffs, pine stands, hardwood forest, trickling
streams, rock overhangs and scenic vistas are encountered along
this trail system. Springtime offers abundant wild flowers and
rushing streams. Autumn offers beautiful fall colors and ripe fruit,
such as persimmons. Users are encouraged to obtain more detailed
maps before entering the backcountry. Overnight parking is
available at the backpacker’s parking lot.
Camping & Picnicking
Pharaoh Campground is open year round. Facilities include 12
campsites, tables, fire grills, toilets, drinking water and trails. Nice
views of the Shawnee Hills can be seen from the campground and
picnic areas. The Pharaoh Picnic Ground is open year round as in the
Observation Area. Call for fees.
Wilderness
Garden of the Gods Wilderness is 3,300 acres in size and is
relatively undisturbed. The Garden of the Gods Wilderness borders
the Recreation Area on three sides. No motorized vehicles or
mechanized equipment is permitted in the Wilderness. Visitors are
encouraged to “leave no trace” of their visit.
Surrounding Area
Pounds Hollow Recreation Area, Rim Rock National Recreation
Trail, River to River Trail, High Knob Picnic Area, Illinois Iron
Furnace, Saline County Conservation Area and Ohio River
National Scenic Byway. The nearest hospital is Harrisburg
Medical Center in Harrisburg.
Visit our website at www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/shawnee. The USDA
Forest Service is a multicultural organization and is committed to the goal
of ensuring equal opportunity for all in employment and program delivery.
Length:
Observation Trail (stone path) - 1/4 mile
Total Trail System – 5.5 miles (excluding River to River
segment)
Map
Travel Time: 3-4 hours
Surface Type: Dirt
Difficulty Level: Easy - Difficult
Recommended Season: Spring, summer and fall
Facilities: Picnic areas, restrooms, parking, camping,
interpretive signs along the Observation Trail.
Access: From Harrisburg, take Highway 145 south 5 miles
to Highway 34, turn south. Take 34 south for 5 miles, then
east on Karbers Ridge Road 2.5 miles to Garden of the Gods
Road. Turn north onto Garden of the Gods Road. 1.5 miles
to recreation area entrance road. There are directional signs
from Harrisburg to the recreation area.
Safety: Trail tread may be slippery during and after rain.
Trail Markings: River To River Trail (blue i)
Hiker/Equestrian Trail
Hiker-Only Trail (blue)
Please Keep in Mind:
1) Pets are allowed only on a leash.
2) Picnic areas and Observation Trail are open 6am-10pm.
3) Use trash receptacles. Pack It In, Pack It Out rules apply to
the entire trail system.
4) Camp only at designated sites in the campground.
5) Disposable food and beverage containers are not permitted
on the Observation Trail.
6) Stay on the designated trail and leave the beauty of the
rocks and plants for others to enjoy.

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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Wed, 26 Aug 2009 01:42:50 +0000
Giant City State Park http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Giant-City-State-Park.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Giant-City-State-Park.html * All Giant City Trails are open again!

Giant City State Park is an extremely popular destination for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Opportunities for camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, rock climbing, repelling, horesback riding, and lodging exist within Giant City State Park.

Brief History of the Park:
Enormous sandstone bluffs tower above the forest floors at Giant City State Park and serve as icons of the Shawnee National Forest. These bluffs were once the sand bars, shoals and dunes of an ancient sea located just south of Giant City. Sand sediments were compacted and cemented together over millions of years to form sandstone. Earthquakes have uplifted, cracked and crumpled the earth in this area to form hills, bluffs and giant fissures in the rock. Over millions of years erosion by wind and water have etched athe bluffs by removing softer areas of stone. Meltwaters from the glaciers that flattened most of Illinois and stopped only a few miles north of the park then added to the erosion of the sandstone bluffs.

In 1927, 900 acres were purchased by the State of Illinios to preserve outstanding natural features like Devils Standtable and the "giant city streets." Today, Giant City State Park encompasses more than 4,000 acres which provide protection to the watershed, geologic formations, plants and animals. More than one million visitors come to the park each year to view these interesting sandstone formations, old forests, and lovely streams.

Recreational Opportunities:
Hiking: 

  • Arrow-wood Self-Interpretive Nature Trail is an easy 1/3 mile trail winding through a restored prarie. Native prarie species were planted here in 1999. The woodland has slowly emerged from land that was once cleared to be cultivated. This woodland is forty to sixty years old, containing Red cedar, Loblolly pine, Sugar maple, Red mulberry, Arrowwood, and White oak.
  • Devil's Stand Table Trail is a moderately difficult 1/3 of a mile trail. Estimated walking time is 30 minutes. The trail leads to a unique geologic rock formation known as Devil's Standtable that has dominated the landscape here for thousands of years. Sandstone bluffs on Devil's Standtable trail face south and southwest, creating a warmer climate than other blufflines found in the park. These bluffs were once the sand bars, shoals and dunes of an ancient sea located just south of Giant City.  Also along the trail is an immense rock shelter overhang formed because the softer sandstone in the lower part of the bluff eroded faster than the iron ore-permeated upper layers.
  • Giant City Nature Trail is a rugged 1 mile trail. Estimated hiking time is one hour. This trail is home to the infamous "giant city streets." This is a popular trail for the same reason. Please respect consider the impact that hundreds of thousands of hikers have on this trail each year. Do not pick wildflowers or ferns, and especially, do not carve on the sandstone. Report any suspcious activity to the Giant City Visitors Center.
  • Indian Creek Shelter Nature Trail is a moderately difficult 3/4 mile hike. Estimated hiking time is 45 minutes.
  • Post Oak Trail Nature Trail is an easy 1/3 of a mile, wheelchair and stroller accessible trail. Estimated walking time is 30 minutes.
  • Red Cedar Hiking Trail is a 12-mile circumnavigating the park and offering experienced hikers a challenging day trip. Fast hikers can cover the trail in about 5 hours. Backpackers or hikers with young children may choose to camp overnight at the primitive camp located 6 miles in on the trail. Be on the trail by noon when hiking in two days. For more information and maps, see Giant City State Park Visitors Center.
  • Stone Fort Trail is a rugged trail, 1/3 of a mile in length. The main feature of the trail is a 285 ft. reconstruction of a prehistoric stone wall. The stone fort is one of several found in the region, and is believed to be a relic of from the Late Woodland Period nearly 1500 years ago.
  • Trillium Trail is a two-mile trail through rugged terrain. Estimated hiking time is 1 1/2 hours. The trail carves through a 110 acre area known as Fern Rocks Nature Preserve, created mainly to protect two Illinois-endangered plant species--the large white-flowered mint and grove bluegrass. This is a high quality nature preserve with bluffs estimated around 250 million years old.

For more information and maps, see Giant City State Park Visitors Center.

Giant City State Park
235 Giant City Road
Makanda, IL
618.457.4836]]>
State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Mon, 23 Feb 2009 04:04:51 +0000
Kinkaid Lake http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Kinkaid-Lake.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Kinkaid-Lake.html

Kinkaid Lake is a 2,750 acre spring-fed lake built in 1968 located five miles northwest of Murphysboro, IL. With over 90 miles of scenic shoreline, Kinkaid Lake is one of the southern Illinois' most beautiful and popular lakes. Kinkaid Lake has an average depth of 39 feet, with an area near the spillway reaching a depth of 100 feet. Anglers enjoy fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, walleye and muskie.

For a hand landing "the big one" contact a local guide service:

  • Kinkaid Lake Guide Service
    Professional Illinois Fishing Guide Al Nutty
    537 Illinois Avenue Extension
    Murphysboro, Illinois 62966
    618.694.4897
  • Chad Cain Guide Service--available September - June
    646 Wood Road
    Carbondale, IL 62901
    618.549.3074
    618.534.1477
  • Scott Donovan
    Multispecies Guide
    Chad Cain Guide Service
    618.201.5820

 

 

 

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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 25 Aug 2009 17:19:29 +0000
La Rue-Pine Hills RNA http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/La-Rue-Pine-Hills-RNA.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/La-Rue-Pine-Hills-RNA.html La Rue-Pine Hills Research and Natural Area]]> State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 25 Aug 2009 21:25:46 +0000 Lake Little Grassy http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Lake-Little-Grassy.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Lake-Little-Grassy.html Little Grassy Lake is managed for warmwater fishing, with largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, and crappie stocked and caught. There is a power limit on the lake of 10 h.p or less. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit is required for use of the lake and can be obtained at the Visitor’s Center on Route 148 south.Visitors can purchase a 1-day, 5-day, or yearly pass at the center.

  • Kinkaid Lake Guide Service
    Professional Illinois Fishing Guide Al Nutty
    537 Illinois Avenue Extension
    Murphysboro, Illinois 62966
    618.694.4897

  • Chad Cain Guide Service--available September - June
    646 Wood Road
    Carbondale, IL 62901
    618.549.3074
    618.534.1477
  • SnS Guide Service
    Matthew Strobel & Tyson Shoot
    618-922-0354
    618-889-3495
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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 25 Aug 2009 20:36:34 +0000
Lake Murphysboro State Park http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Lake-Murphysboro-State-Park.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Lake-Murphysboro-State-Park.html

Lake Murphysboro State Park is a beautiful area for hiking, picnicking, camping, fishing and more! The 1,022 acre park is located about two miles west of Murphysboro, IL off Route 149. Lake Murphysboro was built in 1950 by the Division of Fisheries. The 145-acre lake has a max depth of 36 feet. A smaller lake, Little Lake, is located just to the north of Lake Murphysboro.
Fisherman will appreciate the diversity of species found in Lake Murphysboro--including,  largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, channel catfish, red ear and crappie.
Campers will enjoy well equipped campsites. There are twenty tent camping sites and fifty-four trailor sites outfitted with electricity.
Also offered at the park are picnicking, hiking and archery opportunities.
Lake Murphysboro State Park is managed by the Department of Natural Resources.

Lake Murphysboro State Park
52 Cinder Hill Drive
Murphysboro, IL
618.684.2867

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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 02 Mar 2010 05:32:27 +0000
Lake of Egypt http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Lake-of-Egypt.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Lake-of-Egypt.html Lake of Egypt is one of the most productive bass and crappie lakes ever carved out of Illinois soil. It's a 2,300-acre lake, which is owned by the Southern Illinois Power Company, and has 93 miles of shoreline and an average depth of 19 feet.

Thousands of pounds of largemouth bass, hybrid stripers, catfish, crappie, bluegill, and other fish species are pulled out of this lake each year. Hybrid stripers up to 20 pounds have been taken out of these waters. The Illinois state record fish hybrid striper came from this lake in 1993 and weighed in at slightly over 20 pounds.

Camping, boat rental, live bait, and sandwiches are available on the lake. A daily boat- launching fee ranging from $2-$3.00 is charged at the marinas. Any size boat and motor can be used on the lake. If you are into water skiing during the hot summer months, you have found the perfect lake. Early morning or late evenings will provide family fishing fun during the dog days of summer.

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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 25 Aug 2009 16:56:54 +0000
Little Grand Canyon http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Little-Grand-Canyon.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Little-Grand-Canyon.html

Little Grand Canyon (LGC) is located along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail in Pomona, IL. Little Grand Canyon is extremely beautiful and considered by many to be one of southern Illinois' best hiking venues. Here are a couple of tips before you go:
1. You will be traveling uphill at a steady incline on the way back to the parking lot. Think about water and possibly stretching those hamstrings before you descend into the canyon. 
2. Use caution. Rocks are slippery when wet (green moss growing on them can be even slicker.) Wear appropriate foot gear and leave the flip-flops at home.
3. Poisonous and non-poisonous snakes live in the canyon during spring and summer months. These snakes are non-aggressive and do not seek to make their presence known. Still, the narrow path at LGC lends itself to opportunities for snake encounters. Snakes are most active in the canyon during the months of April and May.
4. The sun sets earlier in these woods. Make sure you have enough time to hike out of the canyon and back to your vehicle before it is too dangerous to navigate the rough terrain.
5. Count on an obnoxious amount of mosquitoes during late summer months. (Once had to resort to running down the path to escape the swarms.) Think extreme levels of bug spray, hats with nets, or hike another location in July and August.

Length:  2.9  miles

Travel Time: 3 - 4 hours

Difficulty Level:  Moderate to difficult. Portions of the trail require moderate climbing.

Recommended Season:  Spring, summer and fall

Facilities:  Parking, accessible restrooms, picnic area with grills and interpretive signs. Site closed 10:00p.m. - 6:00a.m. (day-use only)

Safety:  Flash floods occur in the canyon, be aware of developing weather conditoins. Extra caution should be used when the trail is near the  bluff at the entrances into the canyon and when the traveling on wet, slippery rocks. Be aware of hunters during huntin seasons. Poison ivy, dead snags and poisonous snakes are present in the canyon.

Trail Markings:  White diamond

Trail Ethics:  Pack in, pack out. Stay on designated trail and leave the beauty of the rocks, plants, and animals for others to enjoy.


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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Mon, 24 Aug 2009 23:14:29 +0000
Marberry Arboretum http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Marberry-Arboretum.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Marberry-Arboretum.html

The Marberry Arboretum is closed until further notice due to heavy storm damage.

The Marberry Arboretum is a living museum with more than 100 genera, 600 species and 20,000 plants. The Arboretum dates back to 1939 when a young William Marberry purchased a 25-acre tract about two miles south of Carbondale.

Marberry Arboretum

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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 25 Aug 2009 21:58:27 +0000
Pomona Natural Bridge http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Pomona-Natural-Bridge.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Pomona-Natural-Bridge.html

Pomona Natural Bridge can be found just off the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail in Pomona, IL.The trail consists of a short loop trail that leads through oak, hickory and beech forest. As the trail descends to the creek bottom an overlook reveals a view of the natural bridge from above. The bridge spans 90 feet.

Length:  1/3 mile

Travel Time:  1/2 hour to 45 minutes

Surface Type:  Natural

Difficulty Level:  Moderate to difficult

Recommended Season:  Spring, summer, fall and winter

Facilities:  Parking, picnic, area and grill

Trail Markings:  Blue Diamond

For more information:
Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District
521 North Main
Jonesboro, IL 
618.833.8576     618.687.1731

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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 25 Aug 2009 03:31:49 +0000
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Shawnee-Bluffs-Canopy-Tours.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Shawnee-Bluffs-Canopy-Tours.html

Outdoor enthusiasts and thrill seekers should be sure to take advantage of southern Illinois' first and only zipline adventure course Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours, coming soon in April, 2013.

Currently under construction, the zipline course will span 83 acres, consisting of 8 tree platform based ziplines, with the longest almost 1100 feet, and 3 aerial suspension bridges, with the longest being 180 feet. The cost will be $85 per person and they will offer a 10% discount for groups of 8 or more.

Interested persons can follow course construction on facebook--facebook.com/Shawneezip. For more information, please contact Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours, (855) 386-9477.

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State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Thu, 17 Jan 2013 17:44:29 +0000
Trail of Tears State Forest http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Trail-of-Tears-State-Forest.html http://shawneeshuttle.com/Southern-Illinois-Attractions/State-Parks-Natural-Areas-Lakes/Trail-of-Tears-State-Forest.html Trail of Tears State Forest 3240 State Forest Road Jonesboro, IL 62952 618.833.4910]]> State Parks, Natural Areas & Lakes Tue, 25 Aug 2009 21:46:41 +0000