Friday, February 27, 2015

Ferne Clyffe State Park - Shawnee National Forest

Ferns grow from a cliff face

Ferne Clyffe State Park is nestled in the Shawnee Hills and just south of Goreville, IL off Route 37. Privately owned until 1949 when it was sold to the state, people have been enjoying the area long before then. Since as early as 1899 Ferne Clyffe has been an attraction for many. 

Eighteen different trails in varying length and difficulty provide an adventure for just about anyone. Horses are allowed on designated trails, there is camping, a lake for fishing, a seasonal waterfall and even areas for rock climbing and rappelling. 

Scene along Big Rocky Hollow Trail 

I have to say I wasn't aware of all the trails located here until I started this blog. I've hiked the area for years but only stuck to two main trails, the Big Rocky Hollow and High Ridge Trails. Further exploration is needed. 

Tree dividing the trail

The trails that stay below the ridge and falls are the least strenuous. The High Ridge Trail is more rugged and has a steep climb, any trail here is well worth the effort. The lower trails tend to be cooler in the Summer months providing an oasis from the heat and humidity.

Waterfall when dry from base

Picnic shelters and playgrounds abound in this family friendly park. Camping areas vary from modern, to primitive, and back country, offering something for everyone. Trails vary from .25 miles to 8 miles of the River to River Trail. There are even more trials on the adjoining Round Bluff Nature Preserve. 

Large boulder along trail

The beauty and wonder of the Shawnee has given yet another awe inspiring place. 

Happy Hiking!!!!

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