Spanning over 286,000 acres, the Shawnee National Forest is nestled in southern Illinois between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. It features strikingly beautiful oak-hickory forests, flourishing wetlands, lush canyons, razorback ridges, seasonal waterfalls and unique geological features. A rare convergence of 5 natural ecological regions results in a diversity of plant and animal species. The area’s beauty is accentuated during the spring and fall seasons. Spring brings blooming dogwoods, redbuds and carpets of wildflowers while the fall is saturated with color as the leaves turn.
With all the natural beauty comes a variety of recreational opportunities. You can camp, paddle, hike, horseback ride, swim, hunt, fish, picnic and more. For solitude and a personal challenge, visit one of the 7 wilderness areas designated in the Shawnee National Forest.
Southern Illinois also boasts a rich cultural history. Native American occupation began about 11,500 years ago while the westward expansion during the 18th and 19th centuries brought pioneer farmers settling along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and inland.
For more information, visit the Shawnee National website or contact the Supervisor’s Office in Harrisburg at 618-253-7114.
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