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Shawnee National Forest  is a great place to Hike, Bike, and go Birding.

Shawnee National Forest is a wonderful play ground for adults and children to explore.

Cache River Wetlands, Belknap

Contact number: 618-634-9678 — Totaling 14,960 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. They provide food, cover and water for an incredible diversity of plant and animal species, more than 100 of which have been listed as endangered or threatened by the State of Illinois.
The site offers a wide array of recreation opportunities, including hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing and seasonal hunting programs.
Visit the Henry N. Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center to learn more about the region's natural wonders.

Cave in Rock State Park, Cave-In-Rock

Contact number: 618-289-4325 | website — The heavily wooded park is named for the 55-foot-wide cave that was carved out of the limestone rock by water thousands of years ago.

Crab Orchard Refuge, Marion

Contact number: 618-997-3344 — The Refuge visitor center is located at 8588 Route 148 in Marion. It is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The visitor center offers exhibits of local wildlife and habitats, as well as maps, regulatory brochures and entrance passes. Call for more information at 618-997-3344 ext. 1.

Ferne Clyff State Park, Goreville

Contact number: 618-995-2411 — Trails wind through picturesque woods, allowing visitors to view fascinating rock formations and inspiring vistas.

Garden of the Gods, Vienna

Garden of the Gods, Vienna
Contact number: 618-658-2111 | website — This is the icon of the Shawnee National Forest. When one thinks of nature in Southern Illinois their mind may wonder to the Garden. Visions of scenic vistas with gnarled rocks in the foreground and the vast Garden of the Gods Wilderness appear in the background.

Giant City State Park, Makanda

Contact number: 618-457-4836 — Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest, Giant City State Park was named for the unique impressions made by its massive sandstone structures and a landscape like none other, clothed in lush garments of fern, moss, large flowering mints, hundreds of species of wild flowers and more than 75 varieties of towering trees.

La Rue Pine Hills, Union County, IL

Hiking Trail — there are two hiking trails at LaRue-Pine Hills. The Inspiration Point trail is a 1/4 mile trail that leads to a rock pinnacle called Inspiration Point. White Pine Trail is a T-bone trail with stretches of 2 miles and 2 1/2 miles. This moderate to difficult trail meanders through old wildlife openings. After the leaves have fallen, Bald Knob Cross can be seen.

Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds, Jonesboro, IL

Great place for a short hike around the pond, read the history of the community and the famous presidential debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, and have a picnic.

Little Grand Canyon, Murphysboro

Contact number: 687-1731 — two mile hike with great views and the wonders of nature.

Pomona Natural Bridge, Murphysboro

Contact number: 687-1731 — A real natural bridge you can walk over or under.

Trail of Tears State Forest, Jonesboro

Contact number: 833-4910 | website — Trail of Tears State Forest covers more than 5000 acres in Southern Illinois and features multiple sites for camping, hiking, picnicking and more.

Tunnel Hill State Park, Vienna

Contact number: 658-2168 — Great Place to Bike! At one time, the rumble of freight cars reverberated through the narrow tunnel. Wooden trestles, with their system of slanted supports and horizontal cross pieces, spanned numerous bluffs and creeks. Passengers in Pullman cars clocked the miles with these and other landmarks as they traveled one of Southern Illinois's most scenic routes. Today, the railroad is gone but the route, known as Tunnel Hill State Trail, remains, stretching 45 miles from Harrisburg to Karnak. The trail continues on a trails spur for 2.5 miles from Karnak to Cache River State Natural Area - Henry Barkhausen Wetlands Center on the old Chicago and Eastern Illinois railroad bed.

Union County — Orchards & Berry Picking

Blueberry Hill Farm, Cobden

Blueberry Hill Farm, Cobden
The farm is open May through July, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm, 7 days a week. Visitors may choose to pick their own berries or select a pre-picked pack.  

  • Strawberries, Blackberries, & Blueberries: May 10 - June 10
  • Blackberries & Blueberries: June 20 - July 31
  • Red & Black Raspberries: June 7 - July 14

Contact number:
675 Wrights Crossing Road
Cobden, IL

Flamm's Orchard & Fruit & Cream Stand, Cobden

Take a drive out to the orchards and buy in-season strawberries, peaches and apples. Flamm's Fruits & Cream Stand offers treats like homemade strawberry shortcake, cobblers, apple dumplings and pies.
Contact number: 618-893-4241
8760 Old Highway 51 N, Cobden

Rendleman's Orchards Farm Market

Rendleman's Orchards Farm Market, Alto Pass
During harvest season, which runs from June to December, Rendleman Orchards also offers retail packages of our best quality farm-fresh, tree ripened peaches, nectarines and apples along with a wide selection of other fruits and vegetables, as well as jams, jellies, pickled items, baking and soup mixes, ciders, salsas, snack mixes, candles, linens, apple cider donuts, apple gift boxes, in season, and specialty food gift baskets!
Contact number: 618-893- 2771
9680 State Highway 127 N
Alto Pass, IL 62905

Canoe, Kyak & Boat Rentals, Horseback Riding

Giant City Stables, Makanda

Contact number: 618-529-4110 | website — Located in the heart of Giant City State Park, just 10 miles south of Rt 13 (Carbondale, IL) on Giant City Road. Giant City Stables offers guided horseback trail rides, as well as a variety of summer horse camps and horseback riding lessons for groups and individuals. For our younger horse lovers, we offer pony rides.

Honeybee Stables, Cobden

Honeybee Stables, Cobden
Contact number: 618-949-3791 — Private guided trail rides in the forests of Southern Illinois. Half day, full day and weekend pack trip options available. Experienced trail horses and scenic trails.

White Crane Canoe Rentals & Guide Service

Contact number: 618-210-4090 | website — Join us as we paddle through the ancient waters of the Cache River, Illinois’s hidden bayou. We will set out in canoes or kayaks and spend our time about learning about the rivers history, geology and ecology.Canoe instruction, life jackets and paddles included in price.

Little Grassy Lake Boat, Canoe, Kayak Rentals, Carbondale

Contact number: 618-457-6655

Area Golf Courses

Gambit Golf Course, Vienna

Contact number: 658-3704

Hickory Ridge Golf Course, Carbondale

Contact number: 529-4386

Kokopelli Golf Course, Marion

Contact number: 997-5656

Union County Golf Course, Anna

Contact number: 833-7912

Other Attractions

Allen Christmas Farm, Buncombe

Contact number: 658-5678 | website

Bald Knob Cross, Alto Pass

Contact number: 893-2344 — Among the foothills of the Ozark Mountain range that stretch into Union County and southern Illinois, rises a beacon, a monument of peace, faith, charity, and of hope. Towering above the landscape at a over 111 feet, and visible for over 7,500 square miles, this is the Bald Knob Cross of Peace. Bald Knob Cross is situated in the Shawnee National Forest near the small town of Alto Pass, Illinois. BK Mountain itself towers 1000 feet above sea level. But how did a mountaintop in rural southern Illinois become first the site of an annual sunrise service, and later the location of an 111 foot cross? The story begins in the spring of 1936…

Lincoln-Douglas 1858 Debate Site, Jonesboro

Kornthal Church, Jonesboro

Stinson Memorial Library, Anna

Contact number: 833-2521

Walton Farms, Anna

Contact number: 800-248-4374

Union County Golf Course, Anna

Contact number: 833-7912