Family Weekender: St. Louis

Shawnee National Forest
By Gary Lantz
Shawnee National Forest

Activities: Water sports, hiking, wildlife viewing.

Age Levels: All ages.

Getting There: About 10 miles south of Harrisburg, Illinois on Hwys 34/145 or about 12 miles south of Marion, Illinois on Hwy 166.

Hours from St. Louis: The Shawnee National Forest covers a broad area, and driving times will vary according to which part of the forest you wish to visit.

Contact: Shawnee National Forest (618) 253-7114.

Reference: Williams County Tourism Bureau, 1-800-433-7300.

Extra Treats: Visit Mastodon State Historic Site, 20 miles south of St. Louis, while in route. Museum contains a mastodon skeleton and ancient artifacts from the site. Call (314)464-2976 for more information.


Squeezed between the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers in southern Illinois awaits the most diverse natural treasure in the state — Shawnee National Forest. Noted for tall, weather sculpted bluffs and more than 135 miles of developed trails, it's only a short drive from St. Louis to this 270,000-acre wilderness realm in the Ozark and Shawnee Hills. Ten percent of the forest is designated wilderness, containing several lovely hill country streams.

Virtually anything your family is into can be enjoyed here: Activities include horseback riding, birding, fishing, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, camping, hunting and swimming in several lakes over 2,700 acres in size. Mild winters in the area usually allow for year-round use, but when in doubt, its always a good idea to call ahead.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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