Shawnee National Forest

Kayaking Destinations

Are you looking for Shawnee National Forest kayaking destinations?

The Shawnee National Forest and state parks in southern Illinois are filled with different lakes, creeks, and rivers that make perfect kayaking and canoeing destinations. But sometimes these places aren’t easy to find due to insufficient advertising. But Hiking with Shawn is a place for you to go to find these and other outdoor recreational areas to enjoy.

I just got into kayaking this year. So, I’m relatively new to the hobby. I want to go over three of my favorite Shawnee National Forest kayaking destinations to give you ideas of a few places to go and enjoy a paddle. As I kayak more places, I plan to write even more kayaking articles, so please stay tuned for those.

Let’s get into my three kayaking destinations now!

Shawnee National Forest Kayaking Destination 1: Lake Glendale

Shawnee National Forest Kayaking

Lake Glendale offers a scenic kayaking adventure with even more recreational opportunities included.

Lake Glendale is an 82-acre lake located on Shawnee National Forest land. The lake allows boats with electric motors only. So, wake shouldn’t be a problem. The lake is surrounded by National Forest, giving you very scenic views. A ramp is provided, and access to it is open all year long.

Lake Glendale isn’t just a Shawnee National Forest kayaking destination; it’s much more. There is an electric and non-electric campground on the lake. There are nearly 19 miles of hiking and designated mountain biking trails available. There is a beach with kayak and paddleboat rentals. After a kayak, enjoy a nice easy hike around the lake.

Lake Glendale is perfect for Shawnee National Forest kayaking and outdoor fun.


Shawnee National Forest Kayaking Destination 2: Glen O Jones Lake

The Shawnee National Forest doesn’t manage Glen O Jones Lake, but it’s still worth visiting.

Glen O Jones Lake is a 105-acre lake located in the Saline County State Fish and Wildlife Area near Equality, Illinois. This Shawnee National Forest kayaking destination isn’t in the Shawnee, but it sits right next to it and is worth checking out. The views around the lake are amazing. You’ll encounter geese and other exciting wildlife. Only boats with electric motors can use the lake, so there shouldn’t be a problem with the wake. A boat ramp is provided, and access to the lake is open all year round.

Glen O Jones isn’t just a lake. There is also a campground located along the lake. You might even get lucky enough to get a spot where you launch from your campsite. The campground is non-electric. There are also easy trails within the park, or you can hike Crest Trail, which will take you into the Shawnee National Forest and Old Stoneface if you want a more extended adventure. Visit the Statue of Tecumseh while you’re there and check out the old cemetery. Enjoy a paved bike trail that will take you almost to Equality.

A Shawnee National Forest kayaking adventure awaits you at Glen O Jones Lake.


Shawnee National Forest Kayaking Destination 3: Dutchman Lake

Dutchman Lake is another excellent Shawnee National Forest kayaking adventure right in the middle of the Shawnee!

Dutchman Lake is 118 acres and is located right in the middle of the Shawnee National Forest. Boats may have up to a 10-HP motor, so wake shouldn’t be a problem for paddlers. There are a lot of pretty views of the forest around the lake. It isn’t uncommon to see bald eagles, egrets, and herons around the lake. Access to the lake is open year-round, and a boat ramp is provided.

The lake offers many other outdoor recreational opportunities, too. The River to River Trail passes through the area. There are also really scenic waterfall-chasing opportunities around Dutchman Lake on wetter days. There is something to do for every at Dutchman Lake.

Make sure you add this lake to your Shawnee National Forest kayaking adventure bucket list.


Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Please consider subscribing to my free monthly newsletter to get more kayaking tips and other hiking resources. Join my online community at Outdoor Adventure Topics to talk about hiking, kayaking, and more worldwide.

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Thanks again for checking out another one of my articles and until next time, I’ll see you on the trail!

Shawn Gossman

Shawn Gossman

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. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman

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