The Wonders of the Great Outdoors: Camping in Southern Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest

When it comes to immersing oneself in nature, camping is one of the top ways to do so. There is something special about being away from the hustle and bustle of city life surrounded by trees, lakes, and wildlife. When it comes to camping in Illinois, Shawnee National Forest is one of the most popular spots to set up camp.

About Shawnee National Forest

Covering more than 280,000 acres across Southern Illinois, Shawnee National Forest is a treasure trove of outdoor adventure and scenic beauty. The forest has an array of outdoor recreational activities available, such as hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and rock climbing, making it the perfect spot for a camping trip.

Choosing A Campsite in Shawnee National Forest

The forest has around ten campgrounds that provide visitors with choices for where to set up camp. One of the most popular options is the Pine Ridge Campground because it sits on the edge of the Shawnee National Forest and is only a mile from Lake Glendale.

Another popular option is the Garden of the Gods Campground, which is located at the Shawnee National Forest’s popular natural rock formations.

The Little Grassy Campground and Marina offer relaxing camping among the forest’s rolling hills and sprawling lake. Whatever the preference, there is a campsite that can make visitors feel right at home.

What to Expect While Camping in Shawnee National Forest

Camping within the Shawnee National Forest is a tranquil experience, with each campground offering different amenities. For example, several of the campgrounds have electricity for campers to use, fire pits, and charcoal grills. Most campsites also have amenities like picnic tables, bike trails, and showers.

The forest offers a range of activities for campers of all ages. The Little Grand Canyon and Garden of the Gods are popular hiking options that offer stunning views of the forest’s breathtaking landscape. Meanwhile, the Shawnee Canoe Company allows visitors to rent a canoe and travel down the scenic Ohio river.

Fishing is another popular activity, with the Shawnee National Forest being home to various fish species like the rainbow trout, bass, and bluegill. The forest also has designated hunting areas for those interested in hunting deer, turkey, or other small game. Overall, Shawnee National Forest is a nature lover’s paradise with numerous opportunities to explore and discover.

Tips for Camping in Shawnee National Forest

Before heading out to camp in Shawnee National Forest, bear in mind that the area is home to various wildlife, including black bears. As such, it’s crucial to take precautions like keeping food in bear-proof containers and being aware of black bears’ behavior.

When booking a campsite, plan ahead and arrive early to make sure the campsite is available, as reservations are required at some of the forest’s campsites. Bring appropriate camping gear and equipment for the trip, such as a waterproof tent, sleeping bag, camp stove, and other camping essentials.

In Conclusion

Camping in Southern Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest is an excellent way to disconnect from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with nature. The forest offers a range of campgrounds and outdoor activities, making it an excellent spot for individuals or families seeking an outdoor adventure. With the above tips and information in mind, visitors can plan and make the most out of their camping experience in the beautiful Shawnee National Forest.

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