While exploring the Shawnee National Forest a couple years ago, I had stopped at Ferne Clyffe State Park, but I didn’t really have much time to spend here. So on a rainy Saturday in March, my friend and I headed to Ferne Clyffe. This state park is located near Goreville, Illinois about two hours southeast of St. Louis.
We first hiked the 1 mile Big Rocky Hollow trail to the waterfall. I love this trail! Tall bluffs tower on your right as the fairly flat trail follows a creek and winds back to the waterfall.
This 100 foot waterfall is seasonal, so it is mostly dry if there has not been a lot of rain. The waterfall and box canyon are beautiful. Mini waterfalls spill over the bluffs and moss hugs the rugged rocks.
Next, we hiked the 1 mile Hawk’s Cave Trail. We crossed the creek on the stepping stones and headed up the hill. By hiking the trail counterclockwise, you reach a small shelter bluff and then right after that, you reach one of the largest shelter bluff in the State of Illinois. This cave was massive!
On a whim, we hiked the Rebman Trail since it is only .25 miles long. This was a really neat trail for such a short hike. There were several small waterfalls and some very neat towering rock walls.
One other hidden gem in this state park is Bork’s waterfall. It is located outside of the main park area down a rough country road. You actually have to FORD the stream right above the waterfall! How cool is that?! Except I was too scared to drive my car through the creek because I kept picturing my car getting swept away and falling over the waterfall….LOL! So I got a couple super blurry pictures of the creek with the top of the waterfall to the left and the waterfall from a little clearing in the woods.
I had been to this park years ago and had forgotten how beautiful and impressive it really is. I am sure the trails that we did not hike are holding beautiful features. Be sure to visit and see the natural wonders that Ferne Clyffe State Park has to offer. There is a nice brochure with a map HERE provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.