Cedar Falls – Illinois

On Good Friday, we took a drive down to Southern Illinois to hike the grounds of Camp Ondessonk. You can see that post HERE! Be sure to check out that post on the rules to follow when visiting since they are not open to the public all the time. Cedar Falls is Illinois’ tallest free falling waterfall and it is part of Camp Ondessonk.

You can actually access Cedar Falls one of two ways. The first, it to hike the Cedar Falls trail from Camp Ondessonk. This trail is located near the Lalemant unit. The other shorter option is to drive outside of the Camp.

We choose the second option since we only had a few hours to spend exploring this area. You will head east out of the camp and follow Ozark Road. Just as the road turns sharply for the second time, straight ahead will be Packentuck Road. Drive down this road until you reach a gate and there is a small pull off for about 3 vehicles. You can search “Cedar Falls” on Google Maps and it will give you the general area that you are looking for.

In front of the small parking area, there is a metal rope and the hiking trail starts on the other side of this. Head straight into the forest. You will cross several trails (at least two), but keep heading straight. You will begin to hear the sound of the waterfall. This trail takes you directly to the top of the waterfall after about a 5 minute hike.

To explore the base of the falls, it seems like there might be several ways, but we backtracked just a few steps back into the forest. Keep an eye out for the sign below where the red trail leads south over some rocky glades. You will be heading away from Cedar Falls, but that’s ok!

Keep an eye out as you are crossing the next largest rocky glad as the trail will head left and curve sharply back towards Cedar Falls.

Follow this trail through some tight squeezes!

Soon you will reach the base of Cedar Falls and it was amazing! We had the place to ourselves.

Also, be sure to walk behind the falls for a different perspective =)

Once we were done checking out the falls, we headed back the way we came. This was an awesome adventure and I highly recommend Camp Ondessonk and Cedar Falls to everyone!

Categories: Camp Ondessonk, Cedar Falls, Shawnee National ForestTags: , , , , ,


  1. Very nice! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Many good times were had years ago at camp ondessonk. Brought back memories! Thanks for sharing!


  3. Very pretty – bet it would be spectacular when everything is blooming!


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