Shawnee National Forest
Handicap Accessible Trails
in Southern Illinois
Here are my top 10 Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails in Southern Illinois. I write and make videos all the time about hiking trails from easy to hard. However, I fail to cover Shawnee National Forest handicap accessible trails and those need to be covered to. The Shawnee National Forest should be for everyone including those in wheelchairs or those who have limited mobility. These are my top 10 Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails in and around the forest in Southern Illinois. If you found this article interesting and want to see more like it, please share it with others.
Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails #1:
Snake Road is a great place among the available Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails for you to visit. The road is relatively flat and made of gravel for the most part. During snake migration in the spring and fall, the road is closed to vehicles. Wheelchairs are very welcome, though! The gravel might be tough to ride on but with a rugged chair style or assistance, it should provide a very nice hike along the only road in the country that closes for snake migration. This is also a good road for nature viewing and birding as well. Please just be sure to watch for the micro-snakes that you might not see unless you look down.
Check out my free and exclusive guide on Snake Road for directions, trail information and more.
Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails #2:
Garden of the Gods Observation Trail
Garden of the Gods Observation Trail is another one of the Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails that I would recommend. If you start clockwise on the trail, you will be able to see most of the trail without having to manage the steps or tight squeezes. You’ll be able to see Camel Rock, beautiful overlooks of the wilderness area and all of awesome sights the area has for you to see. This is probably the most visited trail in the Shawnee National Forest, and you deserve to be able to visit it as well.
Check out my free guide on the Observation Trail for more information, directions and all that good stuff.
Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails #3:
Section 8 Woods
Section 8 Woods makes for a great handicap accessible hike around the Shawnee National Forest. It is a boardwalk over a swamp land that is a part of the Cache River State Natural Area. The swamp you will see along this hike was once naturally spread around the region. It is almost like going to the bayou of Louisiana but minus the alligators, thankfully. Unfortunately, a large champion tree fell during a windstorm, but the tree still lays in the swamp and can be seen from the observation desk. There is good reading material also at this trail.
Check out the Illinois Department of Nature Resources free guide on the Section 8 Woods area for more information, how to get there and other stuff associated with the area.
Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails #4:
Lower Cache River
Lower Cache River is another good location for handicap accessible nature viewing. There is a nice paved trail from the parking area to a boardwalk area where you can look into the Lower Cache River. From this point, you can see different birds and wildlife, kayakers and folks on canoes and even see a state champion large cypress tree in the water. The trail is relatively flat but short and surrounded by forest.
Check out the American Trails free guide on the Lower Cache River area for more information, directions and local area features and things to do.
Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails #5:
Cache River Wetland Center
The Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center has a few handicap-possible routes. There is a nice paved hiking trail behind the center where you can see the grassland, ponds, and flower garden plots. This is a great trail to see various birds, butterflies, and dragonflies. There are some dirt trails that will lead to the swamp areas and another paved trail that leads to an observation desk. You can also access Tunnel Hill State Trail from this located and go over a bridge that run across the Cache River. I’ve seen Otters in that part of the river in the past! Be sure to visit the center for interpretive information and great Cache River merchandise.
Check out this free guide on the Cache River Center for more information, directions, and other stuff to do around the area.
Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails #6:
Tunnel Hill State Trail
Tunnel Hill State Trail is mainly crushed limestone but rugged wheelchairs, handicap e-bikes, handicap bikes, recumbent bikes, and assistance in pushing chairs could make this area possible for hiking. There are many options to start the hike with many trailheads. I suggest starting at the Village of Tunnel Hill trailhead and heading south towards the tunnel. There is a lot to see that way especially the tunnel which is a very short trek from the trailhead. In Harrisburg, quite a bit of Tunnel Hill State Trail is concrete.
Check out my free and extensive guide on Tunnel Hill State Trail for directions, more information about the trail and other stuff to do in the area.
Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails #7:
Post Oak Trail at Giant City State Park
Post Oak Trail has recently got maintenance updates. This has made the ADA-compliant for most of its length with more work planned (Update: new ADA section of trail being worked on 12/2021!!!). They have also made this trail an official forest bathing trail. The trail provides very scenic views, birding opportunities, and interpretive signage as well. This is an excellent choice for a handicap trail at Giant City State Park. I really applaud Giant City State Park for taking the step to make this trail easier for those who are handicap.
Check out my free Giant City State Park guide for more information on this trail, directions to the trail and other things to do in the area.
Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails #8:
George Clark Discovery Trail
The George Clark Discovery Trail at Fort Massac State Park is an excellent choice for handicap accessible nature viewing. The trail is more than two miles in length and completely paved. A recent bridge addition at the state park has now reopened the full trail for use. Do take note that if the Ohio River is above flood stage, the trail may have flood water over it at some points. This is a great trail for nature viewing and birding. This trail is also shared by bicyclists and runners.
Check out my free guide on Fort Massac State Park for more information, directions, and other things to do when visiting this area.
Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails #9:
Glen O Jones Lake Bike Trail
Glen O Jones Bike Trail is another good option for handicap accessible hiking or chair use. This 5-mile bike trail will take you from Glen O Jones Lake to Equality. It passes through different natural areas including hardwood forest, grasslands and even a river. During certain seasons, you can expect massive amounts of butterflies and pollinators. This trail also passes through a ghost town with some signage available to explain the area. Be warned though, there are some hills along this trail.
Check out my free guide on Glen O Jones Lake area for more information, directions to this area, and other stuff to do while you’re visiting this area.
Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails #10:
Big Rocky Hollow at Ferne Clyffe State Park
Big Rocky Hollow or the Main Waterfall Trail at Ferne Clyffe State Park is a good “partial option” for handicap users. I say partial because there is a bridge present with stairs. I would really like to see Illinois Department of Natural Resources turn this trail completely ADA compliant. I feel that it would not take that much effort or money to do it. But for now, those in chairs can get fairly close enough to see the main waterfall. However, prepare to get a little wet as water does cross the trail when wet. The wet times are the best times to visit if you want to see the waterfall. For the most part, the trail is paved, or dirt is packed down almost like concrete. This trail is very short as well and offers views of the bluffs, forest, and creeks.
Check out my free Ferne Clyffe State Park guide for directions to this state park, information about this trail and stuff to do while in the area.
Thank you for checking out my article about Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails. I hope these Shawnee National Forest Handicap Accessible Trails are ones that you will be able to enjoy. I will try my best to create more articles like this one to show off more trails where handicap accessibility would be possible. Please share this article with others and especially on social media to help support my efforts for writing it. Feel free to leave a comment below with others trails in the area that would be appropriate for handicap users.
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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!
Great list. There are several I haven’t checked out. I’ll have to take Abby.
Thanks for putting this together. We are planning a stay at Shawnee and generally because of my limited mobility we just drive around at other national parks we have visited. Looks like I can really take the nature in with my mobility scooter.
You’re very welcome! Enjoy 🙂