Little Grand Canyon – Illinois

This is a truly unique hiking experience. The trail is located about 10 minute south of Murphysboro, Illinois. We hiked the 3.6 mile trail counter-clockwise and started off hiking downhill to the beginning of Little Grand Canyon. The trail is so amazing because you actually hike down, through the canyon.


The hike can be a bit difficult as water does flow through the canyon and rocks can be slippery. It is an adventurous task to navigate the way down, finding all the little stairs and hand holds carved into the canyon floor and walls.


Once at the bottom, the trail winds through the flood plain beneath towering bluffs. The hike up is just as enjoyable (and difficult) as the hike down. Once out of the canyon the trail winds around to an overlook over the flood plain.


Categories: Little Grand Canyon, Shawnee National ForestTags: , , , , ,


  1. I find most people miss the second set of stairs here. I had someone who had been here before with me the first time and I was so thankful because otherwise I would have missed it too. The trail at the bottom is so bad you do not realize it is a trail to the second set. This is one of my favorite places to hike.


    • Thanks for your comment! I would agree about missing the second part of the trail. The first time I hiked this trail, we got to the bottom and the trail was so overgrown it was so hard to find. We turned around and went back up the way we came down. The second time hiking it, we were able to find the trail at the bottom so that we could hike up the canyon on the other side! Such a beautiful place in Illinois!


  2. I made the adventurous mistake of hiking this trail in December with my 10 year old. The weather turned warm for a few days, but the canyon gets little sunlight and remained frozen. We had a blast and have great stories to tell, but I was honestly scared that one of us would slip on the icy waterfalls and get seriously hurt, and that we would not be able to climb back out. We made it unscathed, and my kiddo demonstrated more bravery, problem-solving, sure-footedness, and self-reliance than I knew he had. It ended up a great experience and we will definitely go back during a more hospitable season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debi,
      That sounds like quite the adventure! Those canyons are slippery even in the summertime with the water. I couldn’t even imagine hiking it when it is icy! Glad you made it out okay and have some good stories to tell. Thanks so much for your comment!


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