Is the

Shawnee National Forest

Worth Visiting

for Outdoor Adventuring?

Are you asking the question – is the Shawnee National Forest worth visiting?

I can tell you that the Shawnee National Forest is worth visiting.

And I can share with you the many reasons why you’d want to visit the Shawnee National Forest.

I live and breathe Shawnee National Forest and love promoting this incredible area.

So, keep reading if you’re looking for an inexpensive but awesome vacation this year (no matter what time of the year).


Is the Shawnee National Forest worth visiting in the Spring?

The Shawnee National Forest is very worth visiting in the spring.

Before the forest was designated as a National Forest, it was mainly failed farmland. It was a failure because all the trees were extracted. That caused massive erosion, and farming couldn’t happen. Once the land was sold to the Forest Service, trees were planted, and old home sites and farms grew into a National Forest.

You can visit many places in the Shawnee in the early spring where old home sites and farms once stood.

These old pioneer settlements are usually infested with spring flowers such as daffodils and other pretty flowers that residents used to grow. Even fields of daffodils might have been produced for commercial sales.

Seeing some of the old home sites in the Shawnee National Forest is beautiful.


Is the Shawnee National Forest worth visiting in the Summer?

Southern Illinois is hot and humid in the summer.

The mosquitoes and flies come out, too.

And people often ask that question on Facebook – is the Shawnee National Forest worth visiting in the summer with all the heat, humidity, and bugs?

Yep. It is.

You have to dress appropriately and wear insect repellent.

And the spider webs across the trail? Just wave a stick in front of you, and don’t sweat it if you go through them. None of the spiders in the Shawnee across the trail will harm you. It’s the ones living in your house that you should worry about.

One remarkable thing about Shawnee National Forest in the summer is swimming!

We have the beaches! Pounds Hollow Beach. Lake Glendale Beach.

We have the kayaking spots! Millstone Lake. Lusk Creek Canyon. Dutchman Lake. Cedar Lake.

We have scenic waterholes! Bell Smith Springs. Big Creek. Hunting Branch.

We have some lovely creeks, too! Hutchins Creek. Lusk Creek. Bay Creek.

If you’re looking to get wet – there are plenty of options for you to take advantage of in the Shawnee National Forest.


Is the Shawnee National Forest worth visiting in the Fall?

Oh yeah! For many, many, and many reasons!

The fall might be the main reason to visit the Shawnee National Forest.

We have so many scenic overlook areas for viewing fall colors.

Some of my favorites are Garden of the Gods, Blackjack Oak, Little Grand Canyon, and Inspiration Point.

If you like snakes, we have a whole road that we close down (foot traffic is very welcome) so that snakes and other wildlife can migrate across. Be sure to follow these best practices if visiting the world-famous Snake Road.

So many fall festivals around the Shawnee Forest Country are put on by the little communities that will make your visit so much better.

Be sure to stop by our Mom and Pop businesses for a unique experience that you’ll never want to forget.


Is the Shawnee National Forest worth visiting in the Winter?

This is a very common question.

Is the Shawnee National Forest worth visiting during the winter months when it is so cold?

Many might tell you no. And I say they’re wrong!

Some of the best-frozen waterfalls I’ve ever witnessed are right here in the Shawnee National Forest.

We have over 400 miles of trails that are the easiest to hike when all the leaves are off the trees, and the bugs are asleep.

You can see everything in the Shawnee during the winter, like all the awesome bluffage!

And Bell Smith Springs, the Max Creek Vortex, and anywhere with a creek looks so awesome and blue during the colder months.


Is the Shawnee National Forest worth visiting for a newbie without experience?

Many places in the Shawnee National Forest are perfect for inexperienced people new to outdoor adventuring.

I have written over 50 trail guides that I provide free to everyone who wants to find places in the Shawnee to explore.

The trick is using common sense and following safety recommendations that will help ensure you have the best trip possible.

There is a lot to do in the Shawnee! A lot of trails! A lot of little communities with fun stores and businesses! A lot of local events all year round! A lot of places to eat and lodge at! For such a small National Forest, the Shawnee will keep you busy for years and years to come every time you visit because you’ll want to come back again and again.

But if you need an itinerary, I provide them, and if you need a weekend hiking guide, I also offer guided hiking and biking services. If I can help you enjoy the Shawnee National Forest, I want to do everything possible.


And there you have it! So, now tell me, is the Shawnee National Forest worth visiting? When are you planning your adventure to visit the Shawnee and southern Illinois? Because I can’t wait to see you! If you enjoyed this article – share it around!

Videos of the Shawnee During the Seasons

Is the Shawnee National Forest worth visiting in the spring, summer, fall, and winter? Let these videos answer this question!

Photo Gallery of Shawnee During Each Season

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter!

Please Support Hiking with Shawn

Alrighty folks, I hope you have enjoyed this content. I provide it for free and it takes a while to create. If you would be so kind enough to support my efforts, you can do so by sharing this post with others, especially on social media. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel to see my latest videos, shorts and live streams. Follow me on FacebookInstagramTwitter and TikTok for unique content that you will only find on those pages. You might also join my Southern Illinois Hiking & Outdoor Resources Group on Facebook, too!

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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. I hope you enjoy my website and I encourage you to interact with me!

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