Shawnee National Forest
Flora and fauna
During the Illinoisan Stage (between 352,000 to 132,000 years ago), the Laurentide ice sheet covered up to 85 percent of Illinois. The southern area of this ice sheet was located in what is now the Shawnee National Forest. Because of this, there are tons of interesting and spectacular bluffs and overlooks located throughout the entire park. The geologic processes that formed the landscape are partially responsible for the presence of important mineral resources, including some of national significance.
There are no fees to enter the Shawnee National Forest.
The Garden of the Gods Recreation Area has a 1/4 mile long trail that winds through a collection of rock formations perched on a Cliff.
Trail End Restaurant at Double M Campground, 5320 Thacker Hollow Rd, Junction, IL.
There are 7 campground areas in the national forest with rates from $10 to $36.
Primitive camping is allowed year round with no fees.
Like much of the South, in which extreme Southern Illinois resembles in some ways, there is the risk of running into a few different species of poisonous snakes: cottonmouths (water moccasins), copperheads, and timber rattlers. Be vigilant and use common sense when hiking; some parks may well have more of a population or frequency of encounters then others. In fact, a portion of the National Forest is closed off each year to allow for the ritual snake migrations that take place there (protecting you and the snakes from harrassment).