Rim Rock Trail – Illinois

Located in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest is the Rim Rock National Recreation Trail. This trail is sometimes overlooked since the famous Garden of the Gods area is located just a few miles away. This trail has been on my bucket list forever. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to finally see it!

After checking out Garden of the Gods, we headed east to Rim Rock. From the parking lot, a trail splits three ways and heads into the forest. We took the trail farthest to the left. The rock paved trail leads around the rim of a rock escarpment.

About half way around, there is the option to descend a set of stairs. Be sure to hike this part of the trail! At the bottom of the stairs, vertical rock walls tower high above. I loved this part of the trail since you make your way through an area of small passageways.

Rim Rock (13)

I was so excited to be here!

The trail hugs the rock walls and passes by Ox-lot Cave. This cave is immense! The large rock overhang was used as a shelter by many explorers and a fence was even put up to keep mules, oxen and horses corralled.

Rim Rock (35)

Rim Rock (37)

A small creek trickles by opposite of the cave.

The trail comes to a fork and to the left is the trail to Pounds Hollow Lake while the trail to the right will take you back to the parking lot. We headed back to the parking lot, but the scenery along this part of the trail did not disappoint!

We also found this message on the stairs. Graffiti is not good…but I liked this message.

Rim Rock (5)

Categories: Rim Rock, Shawnee National ForestTags: , , , , ,


  1. Gorgeous pictures! I’m adding this hike to my bucket list. Thank you!


  2. That’s about as good as it gets in Illinois. Great photos


  3. this reminds me of being at camp ondessonk!


  4. Well I’m a little claustrophobic, so I’m not sure about the passages for me! The pictures though are beautiful!!


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