10 Unique Waterfalls in Southern Illinois
Are you looking for unique waterfalls in Southern Illinois?
There definitely is, and I have 10 great unique waterfalls in southern Illinois that I know you’ll love.
Getting to the Unique Waterfalls in Southern Illinois
I’m just giving out GPS coordinates to these unique waterfalls in southern Illinois.
It’s up to you to determine where to park and how to see these waterfalls. I do this because these areas are unique, and I don’t want to give all my secrets away of how I do things.
But I do recommend you get a good property boundary map or app. I use OnXHunt (not sponsored) myself, and it works great. Many of these areas have private property around them, and you should NEVER trespass.
I’ll also note that many of these waterfalls are hard to reach and have no trails.
They’re all very rainfall dependent. If it’s been dry and the creeks aren’t running, chances are that these waterfalls will not be flowing.
Please practice proper waterfall chasing safety when visiting these areas.
1 – Wrecked Car Falls
This waterfall is located within the Cache River State Natural Area at 37.33117, -88.93675 near Belknap.
This is a funny story about how we found this waterfall.
We were hiking up a creek after checking out some old settlements along this area’s Tunnel Hill State Trail. I looked down and saw a part of a car. I jokingly told Michelle that the rest of the car was probably up ahead.
There was an old car in the middle of a creek with a cascade waterfall running through it. The car had seen better days and was riddled with bullet holes.
So, I named it “Wrecked Car Falls, ” one of my favorite unique waterfalls in southern Illinois.
2 – Pine Hollow Waterfall Cascade
This cascade is located within the Pine Hollows area of the Shawnee National Forest at 37.39612, -88.62948 near Golconda.
It’s a bit of a rugged hike to this cascade. There are trails to the creek that feeds the cascade, but after that, it’s a bushwhacking experience.
Expect a very rocky and hilly hike. It’s best when really wet, but the rocks will be super slippery at that point.
Not too far from the cascade is another area where water flows downhill through thousands of rocks. It’s quite amazing to see.
Take note of the private property around the area. It’s well-marked with signs and purple paint.
3 – Splatterstone Falls Jr. Waterfall
This waterfall is located on a leg of the River to River Trail at 37.57300, -88.25149 near Camp Cadiz.
We parked on the side of the road and made our way down an old forest service road. The road quickly disappeared, and we found ourselves bushwhacking.
We were on the hunt for Bluffage in the area when we heard the water running.
I knew what it was – a waterfall.
When we made it to the waterfall, there was a nice rainbow effect, and water was splattering on the rock at the base.
It reminded me of Splatterstone Falls at Jackson Hollow. And that’s why I named it Splatterstone Falls Jr. because it’s a smaller version of the one at Jackson Hollow.
This one is right on a trail, too.
We wanted to explore an area some friends went to the weekend before. But I got mixed up and went the wrong way. I’m glad I did because we found a lot of cool stuff.
One of the things we found was IPCF or Indian Point Creek Falls. I gave it that name because I kind of make fun of waterfall names.
But it was very cool, and after a good rain, I bet it had a really good flow to it.
There are a lot of other interesting Bluffage and cave shelters to see in that general area, too.
5 – Lower Bluffage Trail Waterfall
This waterfall is located in Garden of the Gods Wilderness at 37.60961, -88.38977 near the Anvil Rock Trailhead.
Waterfalls in Garden of the Gods are hard to catch unless we’ve had tons of rain or you see them while it’s actively raining hard.
This particular waterfall is right off the Bluff Trail, which I called the Bluffage Trail based on this section’s title. For the most part, some trails lead right to it but can be rugged, especially when wet and muddy.
It’s a great waterfall to check out during a good wet season. Sadly, I can’t find my photos or a video of it. It remains a mystery!
6 – Magic Moment with Michelle Waterfalls
These cluster of waterfalls are located within the Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area at 37.61324, -88.39117 near Anvil Rock Trailhead.
I named these “Magic Moment with Michelle” waterfalls because it was very much a magic moment for us.
It was the first time we had stayed all night with each other. We just started dating. We stayed at Rim Rock’s Dogwood Cabins and wanted to go hiking the next day. It was raining all day, and I thought it ruined the day. But we started hiking down a trail, and then got off the trail to follow a creek, and then found waterfall after waterfall scattered along two sides of the creek of each bluff line.
It won’t happen again unless you hit it right after a lot of rain has fallen for the past few days. It probably needs to be raining the day you visit, too.
That day really holds a special place in my heart. We’ve been together for a few years now. We live together.
7 – Blackman Creek Cascade
This area is located near Eddyville at 37.59328, -88.51111 in rural Pope County, Illinois.
This is where you need a property boundary app or map. There are a lot of private property parcels in this area. Please don’t trespass. There are no trails aside from faint old ATV trails here and there, but most of our adventure was off-trail.
The creek is beautiful, and the cascade intersects the creek in a T-like manner. It would look amazing after a good rain. When we saw it, it didn’t have much flow, but it still looked great.
That whole area out there is interesting. But it is mainly a bushwhack to see anything cool.
8 – Banding Falls
This waterfall is located within the Burden Falls Wilderness area at 37.58292, -88.66363 near Ozark, Illinois.
We went in at the Forest Service gate on Appel Road near the Ozark area. We walked down a trail until it more or less disappeared and then started heading for topo signatures from my app.
There in the middle of nowhere, was a nice bluff with a waterfall hanging down over it. If it’s raining hard or has been raining well, I imagine the waterfall roaring.
It was pretty easy to get down to the bottom of the waterfall.
I called it Banding Falls because of all the Liesegang banding all over the rocks around the waterfall. It was a cool sight to see with just the banding, even without the waterfall.
It’s a rugged hike to reach it, with many rolling hills.
9 – Katy Reid Waterfalls
This area is located in a very remote section of the Shawnee National Forest at 37.55682, -88.70344 near Ozark, Illinois.
To locate this area, you’ll need a property boundary app. There is only a small section of Shawnee National Forest land by the side of the road where you park to access this area. There are private property boundaries all throughout the area.
The waterfalls are amazing in this area but extremely rugged to get to. There are no trails in this area, and there are numerous creeks you will have to cross. They could be an issue if there has been a lot of rain.
The waterfalls are close to the railroad tracks nearby. There are massive shelters with multiple waterfalls flowing over them. I think I counted at least three large waterfalls.
It’s a rugged area to get to but a very wild and scenic area to enjoy if you have what it takes.
10 – Eaglet Falls
The waterfall is located between Jackson Falls and Bell Smith Springs at 37.50912, -88.66365 near Ozark, Illinois.
There are two ways to get to this waterfall. You can take the old white trail at Bell Smith Springs (going past the Jumping Spring) for the long and scenic way, or you can take the short way from Jackson Falls. The long way requires a creek crossing at Bell Smith Springs.
Eaglet Falls is a small waterfall located at the bottom of Eagle Falls, close to Bay Creek. I named it Eaglet Falls since the larger Eagle Falls are at the top. If you’ve never seen Eagle Falls, it will be a two-for-one special for you to enjoy.
This whole bluff line is very interesting to explore, especially if you start at Bell Smith Springs and go to the end at Jackson Falls.
But do note the trails are not officially maintained, and there are some rugged spots, especially around the waterfall areas.
And that concludes my list of unique waterfalls in southern Illinois. I hope you enjoyed this article. I plan to create more like it with these hidden gems. Remember to Leave No Trace when visiting them and do be safe about it as it is a rugged hike to most of these. If you enjoyed this article and want to see more like it, please consider supporting me with a small donation. Subscribe to my free newsletter for more hiking tips, trail guides, local events, and more.
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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. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman