Find the Largest Bluff Shelter in Southern Illinois

When we decided to visit Southern Illinois, we thought we’d spend most of our time in Shawnee National Forest. Little did I know, Ferne Clyffe State Park would steal our outdoor-loving hearts in a big way. After a quick mid-morning visit with my kids, we decided to head back with the whole family the next day. Add the Hawk’s Cave Trail to your list of must-see places.

So why visit a random state park in Southern Illinois? Because you will find the most spectacular bluff shelter in the whole state. What’s a bluff shelter? Bluff shelters, also called rock shelters, are rock overhangs used by people in prehistoric times.

This is no ordinary rock. It is breathtaking. It is spectacular. What else can I say?

My kids went crazy boulder scrambling beneath the bluff shelter. And I had so much fun watching them explore and find their way across the vast rocks. To say that this spot is one of nature’s most unique playgrounds is an understatement.

I wish we had a lot more time to explore the area. There are a ton of trails, one of which leads to a waterfall. So bummed we missed it, but it was worth it stand under that incredible rock. Next time we’re in the area, we’ll explore Shawnee National Forest too.

While we were in Illinois, we stayed at Shawnee National Campground, and it was perfect for our family. We had a lakeside campsite with plenty of space for our 40-foot rig. I loved the paved path around the lake for my daily runs, and my husband and kids went fishing in the lake every day. We found a grocery store with everything we needed in town and a few local restaurants for carryout. Otherwise, it is a pretty remote area.

I would like to thank Britt Todd of Radianthem Media for capturing these beautiful photos of our family making lifelong memories together. Click here to book her for your next family photo session. She travels!

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