Shawnee National Forest



There are some fantastic Shawnee National Forest sunrise spots to enjoy throughout the year.

Some are best during the leaf-off months, while others can be enjoyed year-round.

I wanted to create an article with a few options for sunrise spots in Shawnee National Forest.

These aren’t all the Shawnee National Forest sunrise spots by any means, but here are ten great spots to get you started.

I’m also working on a sunset article, too.

Shawnee National Forest Sunrise Spot #1: Giant City Water Tower

Giant City Water Tower is a great sunrise spot to enjoy all year round.

It’s easy to access, and you don’t have to go through ticks and spider webs to get to it. Just park at the lodge and walk up its stairs. You could see both the sunset and the sunrise at this particular location.

It would be best during leaf-off, however.

Giant City does close the access road during the winter months.

Shawnee National Forest Sunrise Spots

Shawnee Forest Sunrise Spot #2: Horseshoe Lake Bike Trail

Horseshoe Lake Bike Trail, particularly the portion across the lake, would be ideal for a sunrise spot.

You could get the old cypress and the lake in a shot if you wanted to take a photo.

The sun’s reflection on the lake would be fantastic.

This is also easy to access, with no rugged trail to get through to see it.


Shawnee Forest Sunrise Spot #3: Wildcat Bluff Lookout

Wildcat Bluff Lookout Trail would be a great place to watch the sunrise.

It’s about a mile out and back from the main parking lot.

It features the Cache River State Natural Area watershed on the bottom and a lovely big open sky on top.

The trail is well-used and easy to follow, but getting to the overlook in the summer months. If you go, check yourself for ticks after your hike.


Shawnee Forest Sunrise Spot #4: Blackjack Oak Overlooks

Blackjack Oak Trail Overlooks are my favorite Shawnee National Forest sunrise spots.

They’re also my go-to overlooks for seeing fall colors.

The trail is easy to follow all year round but might have some weedy spots here and there during the summer.

The trail features multiple overlooks to the east giving you the perfect sunrise spot.


Shawnee National Sunrise Spot #5: Crow Knob

Crow Knob is probably best for sunrises during the leaf-off and winter months.

It can get overgrown and full of spider webs during the summer months.

It’s a great spot to see both the sunrise and the sunset.

Getting to it will require a few miles of easy-to-moderate hiking.


Shawnee Forest Sunrise Spot #6: Sunrise Rocks

This might be the best Shawnee National Forest sunrise spot because it’s named Sunrise Rocks.

This would indeed be a fantastic spot to watch the sunrise. It’s like a remote version of the Garden of the Gods lookouts.

But it could be hard to get to during the darker morning hours.

This is prime rattlesnake country so if you don’t like snakes, avoid it during the summer.


Shawnee Forest Sunrise Spot #7: Rocky Top

Rocky Top at One Horse Gap is a fantastic scenic view for sunrise viewing.

Lucky for you, it’s relatively easy to get to. About a mile hike out and back.

It would be ideal for visiting during fall colors or leaf-off to view the sunrise.

This is snake country so be sure to watch your step and be safe.


Shawnee Forest Sunrise Spot #8: Christmas Star Overlook

This Shawnee National Forest sunrise spot can be challenging for many, but it is fantastic.

It’s on the River to River Trail, but there are some rugged rolling hills to get to it.

It’s best visited during winter to avoid ticks and spider webs.

You can see Indian Point across from the way from it.


Shawnee Forest Sunrise Spot #9: High Knob

High Knob would make for a fantastic Shawnee National Forest sunrise spot.

It used to be the site of an old fire tower. If the fire tower was still accessible, it might be one of the best spots to see the sunrise in the entire forest.

This spot is easy to get to. You drive to it, and you’re there.

The hill up to the picnic area is steep and can sometimes be washed out. Take your time, be safe about driving, and you should be fine.


Shawnee National Forest Sunrise Spot #10: Battery Rock

Battery Rock might be one of the most precise Shawnee National Forest sunrise spots.

This area is harder to reach and will likely be weedy during the summer.

If the Ohio River is up, this area might be flooded and will be inaccessible at that point.

This is one of the more eastern spots of the Shawnee National Forest.


Now that you know about ten great Shawnee National Forest sunrise spots, it’s your turn to go on an adventure to each one. If you do go and you take any pictures, be sure to share them with me on my Facebook Group, as I’d love to see them. Thanks for checking out this article, and I hope to get my sunsets article out soon!

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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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