LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road Guide

For those interested in visiting Snake Road in Southern Illinois

LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road Guide

LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road is a very unique forest road that is a part of the National Forest system of the United States. LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road is named in part, after the unique snake, reptile and amphibian migration that occurs two times a year from the bluff area to the swamp area and back. The LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road Guide was created to help those of you who might wish to visit LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road, to have a positive experience upon your visit…

About LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road


LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road is a Research Natural Area (RNA) of the Shawnee National Forest. It was established as an RNA in 1991. While tall bluffs, famous local trails, swamps and agricultural views are heavily featured at LaRue Pine Hills, the area is more well known for its twice annual snake and amphibian migration periods. LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road is one of the most unique roads in the world and is often visited by people and organizations from all over the world.


During annual migrations periods, LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road is usually closed around March 15 to May 15 for spring migration (from the bluffs into the swamps) and on September 1 to October 30 for the fall migration (from the swamps to the bluffs). Pending the climate and environmental conditions during the migration periods, the forest service has agreed to extend road closure dates if the migration requires it. When the migration is not ongoing, driving on the road is permitted.


LaRue Pine Hills Facebook Group

Discuss LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road with other herpers and fans on Facebook!

Follow the Rules of Snake Road

The rules at LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road were created to protect snakes and other wildlife from being killed off from this very special place in the Shawnee National Forest. The rules of LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road are strictly enforced. There are patrols and plenty of people who will report misconduct if they see it. Be a good road patron and help us keep the critters of LaRue Pine Hills safe!

  1. Collection, handling, removal and/or adding of any type of wildlife is strictly prohibited.
  2. The use of horses, bicycle and/or motorized vehicles during migration is prohibited.
  3. Possessing bags and/or hooks/handling tools is prohibited.
  4. Overnight camping is not allowed. It is recommended that you camp nearby within the Clear Springs Wilderness Area, Pine Hills Campground or the Turkey Bayou Campground.
  5. Abandonment of garbage and/or waste is against the rules.
  6. Disturbing plants, trees, soils and habitats is forbidden.
  7. Rock climbing is prohibited and would be hazardous to your safety.

Read more official rules and other important information by clicking here.

Venomous Snakes are Present!




There are three venomous snakes associated with LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road. These include the copperhead, cottonmouth and timber rattlesnake. It is critical that you keep a safe distance between you and any snake while traveling Snake Road. The road often caters to more cottonmouth snake species than any other snake associated with the road. Please watch your step, stay on the road if at all possible and don’t take a chance that could result in a hazardous situation. Emergency medical services and hospitals are far from the area of Snake Road. If you are bitten though, immediately notify emergency services and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Avoid being bitten by watching your step and not approaching snakes. Snakes do not want to bite you and they will not chase you but they WILL defend themselves if they are forced to. It is prohibited by law to handle ANY snake in that area – doing so could result in criminal penalties such as fines and jail time.

Please help protect the wildlife on Snake Road, if you see any sort of suspicious activities during your visit to LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road, call or text such activities to the 24/7 Tip Line at 618-201-3364. You can remain anonymous if you wish to do so.


LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road

North Trailhead and Parking Area


Tips for your visit to Snake Road:

  • Wear pants if possible, consider “Snake Leggings”
  • Follow the rules at all times
  • Tell a friend where you are going
  • Pack out what you pack it, Leave No Trace
  • Do not handle any snakes, it’s the LAW!
  • Bring plenty of fluids and snacks
  • Picnic tables and grills are present
  • Outdoor restrooms are not present
  • Enjoy the Shawnee National Forest
Shawn J. Gossman

Shawn J. Gossman


Shawn is the founder and host of the YouTube Channel, Hiking with Shawn as well as Hiking with Shawn LLC. Shawn hikes, backpacks and visits various forested areas in the Shawnee National Forest, local state parks and other areas promoting outdoor recreational activities to obtain video to show to locals and non-locals alike. Please support Shawn’s efforts by sharing this post and leaving a comment below.
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