Shawnee National Forest
for Every Visitor
Shawnee National Forest campgrounds are scattered all across the National Forest.
Whether you need an electrical hookup, a tent site, or want to get away from the crowds, a campground is suitable for you.
And the campgrounds around the Shawnee National Forest at times are free to camp in, and I’ll be covering that, too!
These campgrounds are managed on Shawnee National Forest land, so there may be other campgrounds around them. See an extensive list of Local Campgrounds Here.
So, let me show you what 10 Shawnee National Forest campgrounds are an excellent choice to use when visiting one of the best National Forests in the Midwest.
Shawnee National Forest Campgrounds for Electric
A few campgrounds are available for electrical hookup in the Shawnee National Forest. Both are first come, first serve.
Lake Glendale is probably the best of the Shawnee National Forest campgrounds for electrical and water hookup sites. There are 35 electric/water sites and 24 non-electric/water sites. For electric, a single site is $22 a night, and a double site is $44 a night. For non-electric, a single site is $12 a night, and a double site is $24 a night. There is a beach with a concession stand – $4 per adult and $3 per child age six and under. This campground is open all year long. There is water and restrooms available. This area has hiking trails, mountain biking trails, a boat launch, and picnicking sites. Head over to the Chocolate Factory for some treats and ice cream. For dining options, check out Golconda.
Pine Ridge is the other electric campground in the Shawnee National Forest. There are 13 electric sites and 22 non-electric sites. At this time, both electric and non-electric are $10 a night. A proposed fee increment for electrical sites is currently in the works. There is water and restrooms available. There is a free beach but no personnel on-site. The beach is open from May to September. The campground is open from March 15 to December 15. Check out the nearby Rim Rock Trail for area hiking. Head to Garden of the Gods Outpost for Shawnee merch, Sasquatch gear, camping supplies, and ice cream. Visit Harrisburg for more shopping and dining options.
Shawnee National Forest Campgrounds for Primitive
The Shawnee National Forest has many campgrounds for primitive camping. This means there are no electric sites, and many of them may not have water. All of these sites are first-come, first-serve.
Redbud is one of the best Shawnee National Forest campgrounds available as it is close to many major popular trails. There are several sites available for tent and small camper use. There are restrooms and water, but no electric hookups. Sites are $10 a night. Enjoy the hiking trail at Bell Smith Springs. There are also great places to take a dip along some of those trails. Head to Shotgun Eddy’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in nearby Eddyville.
Pharaoh is another good campground that is open all year round. There are no electrical sites here. There are restrooms and water sources available. Enjoy 12 sites with a lot of shade at each site. The cost is $10 a night. This campground is next to the Garden of the Gods Observation Trail and the Wilderness Area, where you can enjoy many different hiking trails. Head over to Equality and dine at the Famous Red Onion for some of the best steaks in the area.
Pine Hills is another good choice for camping. This is probably one of the most secluded Shawnee National Forest campgrounds on the western side of the region. Multiple sites are available, and the campground is open all year round. There is no water or electricity at all! There are restrooms available, though. Sites cost $10 a night. There are many nearby hiking trails, including LaRue Pine Hills and the White Pine Trail. Head into Anna-Jonesboro nearby for dining and shopping options.
Shawnee National Forest Campgrounds Away From the Crowds
Some wonderful Shawnee National Forest campgrounds are usually relatively quiet and less used. All of these campgrounds are also first-come, first-serve.
Johnson Creek is located on the western side of the Shawnee National Forest. This campground is open from March 15 to December 15. There is a boat launch that is open all year round. Twenty non-electric sites are $10 a night for a single, $12 a night for a double, and $15 a night for a triple. There is water and restrooms available. There are plenty of areas to hike along with the Kinkaid Lake system and Piney Creek Ravine. Head over to Carbondale for various shopping and dining options.
Camp Cadiz is a nice non-electric campground tucked away off old country backroads in the Shawnee National Forest. This is also an approved Equestrian campground. This campground is open all year round as well. Eight sites cost $10 a night. There is water present as well as restrooms. Enjoy hiking trails in the area, including High Knob. Head to Cave-in-Rock State Park for more outdoor recreation and check out their Dining Lodge.
Two great Shawnee National Forest campgrounds are free to stay all year round. Turkey Bayou is on the west side of the Shawnee, and Tower Rock is on the east side of the Shawnee National Forest. These campgrounds are non-electric and have no water or restrooms. Both may be subjective to river flooding during the wetter periods of the year.
Shawnee National Forest Free Camping Days
The Shawnee National Forest recognizes that camping is accessible at all sites that do not have active concierges on certain days of the year. For example, Lake Glendale is not covered by these fee-free days, but Pine Hills is covered.
The fee-free days include:
- Martin Luther King Day (January 17)
- President Day (February 21)
- National Get Outdoors Day (June 11)
- National Public Lands Day (September 24)
- Veterans Day (November 11)
No action is necessary to camp on fee-free days. It is first-come, first-serve.
And there you have it, all the great Shawnee National Forest campgrounds in one article. I hope this article helps you choose the best campground to fit your needs. Thank you for reading this post, and be sure to share it with someone else who you think would love to see it.
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Founder, Hiking with Shawn
Howdy folks! My name is Shawn Gossman and I founded Hiking with Shawn. I’m an avid hiker, cyclist and outdoorsman here in the Shawnee National Forest. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois and never want to leave. I hope you enjoy my website and I encourage you to interact with me!