Shawnee National Forest
When visiting the Shawnee National Forest, if you’re not a local, you might be wondering about the different solutions for overnight stays. I wanted to write an article that I can personally validate when it comes to overnight stays around the Shawnee National Forest. So I’ve picked three overnight stays that I have personally used for each sections of the Shawnee National Forest. These three overnight stays include Rim Rock’s Dogwood Cabins on the east side of the Shawnee National Forest, Shawnee Paradise Air B&B in the middle of the Shawnee National Forest and Pine Hills Campground on the west side of the Shawnee National Forest. I want to also note that I’m not getting paid to write this article and these overnight stays are not sponsoring me.
Overnight Stays in the Shawnee:
Rim Rock’s Dogwood Cabins
(East Side of the Forest)
If you are wishing to explore the east side of the Shawnee National Forest, I highly recommend choosing Rim Rock’s Dogwood Cabins when looking for overnight stays in the area. My girlfriend and I stayed at Rim Rock’s Dogwood Cabins last year and it became my favorite cabin to stay at after the wonderful experience I had. First of all, this cabin outfitter is right across the street from Rim Rock / Pounds Hollow area allowing you to take a short walk to the trail and beach which is nice during warmer months when parking lots are jam packed. If you want to see Garden of the Gods, Iron Furnace, High Knob and other great Shawnee National Forest spots on the east side, this cabin outfitter is within 20 minutes of these places – a quick drive. Rim Rock’s Dogwood Cabins is nicely placed in an area of the Shawnee National Forest that gives visitors access to virtually all the coolest spots on the east side.
There are multiple cabins at this resort. Smaller cabins cost less while larger cabins have a price increase. These cabins are child friendly and pet friendly. In fact, there is no extra cost for pets as the owners are big time animal lovers. I stayed in ‘The Dog House’ which featured a very comfortable bed, a loft for extra bedding solutions, a screened-in back porch and a lot of amenities. Every cabin has satellite television, DVDs, board games, high speed internet and even included bath and kitchenware. You can adjust the air conditioner and the heat to your liking. There are also area brochures and informational guides available for you to find awesome spots around the nearby Shawnee National Forest. There is really more bang for the buck at Rim Rock’s Dogwood Cabins.
But let’s get to the most awesome part of this cabin outfitter – Llamas! Yes, I spelled that right – Llamas! Rim Rock’s Dogwood Cabins has two live llamas that you can visit and feed. I’ve personally met these critters and they are a sight to see. The llamas are very friendly and love attention from visitors. And it doesn’t just stop at llamas, there are miniature donkeys, goats, chickens and the owners have some dogs. Every animal there is friendly and the owner will likely provide you some food to feed them with. This place is great for kids who enjoy wildlife, especially farm-like wildlife and you’re right there in some of the best Shawnee Forest Country on the east side.
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Overnight Stays in the Shawnee:
Shawnee Paradise Air B&B
(Middle of the Forest)
My girlfriend and I got a chance to stay at an awesome Air B&B in the Lake of Egypt area called Shawnee Paradise. The host is one of the nicest people I’ve ever hiked with and she has providing a very unique experience for folks looking for overnight stays around the Shawnee National Forest. An Air B&B is a house that gets rented out for a few days. It is like sharing a house only you get the house to yourself before the next person gets to share it with you. This particular house is very affordable and it is in an area of southern Illinois where most houses out there are in the millions of dollars. Lake of Egypt offers fishing, boating and more for the sportsman who wishes to visit. This house is also a short drive from awesome Shawnee National Forest locations such as Dutchman Lake, Tunnel Hill State Trail, Bulge Hole, Burden Falls, Bell Smith Springs and Jackson Falls.
Shawnee Paradise is a one-bedroom home consisting of many features. There is a very large television with Netflix availability. The kitchen is a master kitchen with a fine dining area. There is a garage and even a safe room for when the weather becomes hazardous. There is a lot of room and comfortable space in this house. Enjoy a BBQ outside on the patio or even a dip in the working hot tub. The host graciously provides bird food so that you can feed the birds and deer that venture into the area. The house is nestled in a wooded area very close to the lake on a dead-end private drive. The host has ensured that the house is well-decorated with a variety of interesting things to see in each room. There are also multiple guides, brochures, maps and books featuring some of the best nearby spots for visiting the Shawnee National Forest.
While staying at Shawnee Paradise, we were getting some of the heaviest rain we’ve got in a long time. Because the drive from the house to Burden Falls was short, I was able to see Burden Falls the best I’ve ever seen water flow wise. And because the house was so close to that part of the forest, I was able to stay around that area until just before dark and not be concerned about a deer-infested drive all the way back to my home several counties away. Staying at Shawnee Paradise was truly a treat for me and my girlfriend and we cherish the memories that we made at that awesome house.
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Overnights Stays in the Shawnee:
Pine Hills Campground
(West Side of the Forest)
If you’re looking for a very reasonably price solutions for overnight stays around the western side of the Shawnee National Forest, I highly recommend Pine Hills Campground. This campground is managed by the US Forest Service of the Shawnee National Forest. There are multiple spots for campers and each night only costs about $10 which is very affordable for the area. I stayed there last fall with some fellow YouTubers while we filmed multiple days at LaRue Pine Hills Snake Road. For those of you visiting Snake Road, this campground is only about a 15 minute drive from Snake Road making it a very nice location to stay if you want to visit the road again and again during migration. This campground is also in close proximity with Little Grand Canyon, Trail of Tears State Forest, Horse Shoe Lake and Pomona Natural Bridge. There are also a lot of great gravel roads in these parts for those of you who get into gravel bicycle riding – something I look forward to trying out very soon.
Pine Hills Campground is non-electric and you need to bring in your own water to be safe. However, each spot includes plenty of parking, a well maintained area to put up tents, trees for hammock campers and even a fire pit area with chopped wood in the area. There is a very nicely built pavilion and fire pit area for the community of the campground. There is vault-toilet restrooms which are much cleaned, stocked up with toilet paper and include hand sanitizer. There is a hiking trail located in the middle of the campground that takes you into the Hutchins Creek area. On this trail, you can see signs of previous Civilian Conservation Corp inhabitant as well as a few virgin growth trees that survived the great timbering of pioneer settlers. There are also other trails and lookout points along Pine Hills road up to where it is blocked off from a washout that happened a few years ago.
Watch My Video Review!
I hope you have enjoyed this article featuring three overnight stays in and around the Shawnee National Forest. While I am not sponsored for this article, please feel free to mention Hiking with Shawn if you stay at these locations. I want to make sure the hosts know that I am continuing to promote their overnight stays because they provide great places around the forest. If you have a cabin or overnight stay location and you want me to review it, feel free to contact me for more information. Please share this article with others, especially on social media. If you are not a subscriber of my YouTube Channel, please subscribe today to see all my great 400+ videos of the Shawnee National Forest and beyond. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Patreon if you wish to make a small monthly contribution. Thanks again for reading and until next time, I’ll see you on the trail!
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.