While vacationing in the Shawnee National Forest in October, we took a drive to Millstone Bluff Archaeological Area near Simpson, Illinois. I have been to Shawnee so many times, but never visited Millstone Bluff before.
Millstone Bluff is centrally located and easy to find since it is located right off of Highway 145. A rock parking lot is at the end of a short road. All vehicles should be able to make it down this road.
A .75 mile uphill trail leads to a high point that was once inhabited by the Woodland and Mississippian Indians.
Once on top of the bluff, a trail circles the escarpment that is lined with a stone fort wall still visible today.
Several prehistoric features are called out along the loop like household indentations and a cemetery.
The most notable feature of Millstone Bluff is the ancient rock art. On the northwest side, a short trail leads to an area of large sandstone bluffs and on the top of one, several petroglyphs are visible. Do you see the falcon-like bird below?
I was actually in awe of this area. It feels like Millstone Bluff if sometimes overlooked by the more popular places in Shawnee like Giant City State Park, but this place is not to be missed!
If you are looking for other places to see petroglyphs in the Shawnee National Forest, be sure to check out Piney Creek Ravine.