Things to Do | Shawnee National Forest Cabins

So much to do, So little time

The Shawnee Forest Geological History

The incredible beauty and unique geology of the Shawnee Forest is the result of the collision of five distinct physiographic areas; the Glacial Till Plain, Cumberland Plateau, Illinois Ozarks, Gulf Coastal Plain, and the Shawnee Hills.

The Illinoian Stage was between 352,000 to 132,000 years ago. The Laurentide ice sheet covered up to 85 percent of Illinois, scraping the region north of Illinois 13 to flatland. The southern margin of this ice sheet was located within what is now the area of the Shawnee National Forest. As the ice sheet receded, it left intact the incredible canyons, bluffs, and distinct ecosystems we can still explore today. Now aren't you glad you were curious? Fascinating!

Garden of the Gods

We offer deeply discounted rates for stays for five and seven days. This gives guests an affordable opportunity to slow down the pace and have enough time to enjoy not only the luxurious homey comfort of our cabins, peaceful soul soothing surroundings and the plethora of recreational opportunities just waiting to explore.

From Giant City State Park to the Garden of The Gods

The Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois has so many things to do, it can sometimes be overwhelming to decide where to start. With the many lakes, soaring cliffs, forested valleys, miles of winding roads, and breathtaking natural beauty the possibilities are endless.

Our cabins are located in Makanda, which is on the western region of Southern Illinois, deep in wine country and 15 minutes from Giant City State Park. Many guests pack a lunch and head over to Garden of The Gods one day, a beautiful 80 minute drive, Giant City State Park the next, and then everything in between. If you wish, bring your kayaks, bikes, or good walking shoes.

Devils Kitchen Lake and Little Grassy Lake are both protected pristine bodies of water surrounded by forests and cliffs. The maximum motor is 10 or under, perfect for kayaks, john boats, paddle boards, or a pontoon. If you don't have your own Little Grassy rents out all of these recreational toys.

Bike Rental Shawnee Forest

Fun! A new bike rental service has opened for the area. Rent a bike for the famous Tunnel Hill Rail Trail, Garden of the Gods, or any of the multiple trails. Check out their link in the biking tab below. Shawnee Hills EBike Rental.

Shawnee National Forest Tour Guides

Shawn Gossman knows many of the ins and outs of the Shawnee and offers guide services. You can find his information at Hiking with Shawn.

Wilderness and Natural Areas

When the Laurentide ice sheet receded it left intact the spendor that is our beautiful Shawnee Hills. Evidence of the original protectors of the land, the Shawnee and Illinois Indian Nations, still can be found along trails, bluffs, caves, and in so many other locations. The Shawnee is protected and its preservation is dear to our hearts.

There is never enough time to see everything, but we hope you keep coming back and continue to explore the wonders of the Shawnee Hills.

In our collection of links, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website covers all of these areas, but one website, The Shawnee National Forest in particular, has clear, succinct references to places we've highlighted. Also check out Shawnee Forest for even more information. Several sections will overlap in categories such as parks, trails, fishing, rock climbing...

Explore these links, then come explore the real thing.

Look at some beautiful imagery at Shawnee National Forest Facebook page.

Parks and Recreation

Ferne Clyffe State Park

Garden of the God's is a spectacular place worth the drive. Pack a lunch and take your camera.

Giant City State Park

Breathtaking natural beauty with new discoveries at every turn. Something for everyone.

Garden of the Gods

Gorgeous, breathtaking views. Yet another one of the gifts the Shawnee Hills geological history has given us.

Cave in Rock State Park

The cave has a colorful history of explorers, pirates, and outlaws. Now, one of the most visited attractions in the area.

Boo Rochman Memorial Park (Castle Park)

Dungeons and Dragon's fan or not, Castle Park is a very cool, fenced in park where you can let your imagination run free. Children, of course, love it but teenagers and adults will want to come back again and again. Check out the link to read a blog written on it for more details.

Hiking Trails

Almost every area we have highlighted here has walking and hiking trails. Some short and easy, some difficult and some in between. The most famous trail that keeps bringing people back is the River to River Trail. From the USDA Forest Service Website

"The River to River Trail spans 160 miles from Battery Rock on the Ohio River to Devil's Backbone Park in Grand Tower on the Mississippi River. The trail is part of the American Discovery Trail that extends coast to coast from Point Reyes National Seashore in California to Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware and spans more than 5,000 miles. Whether you're experiencing southern Illinois for the first time or have loved this area for years, there are many surprises along the trail. If you want to truly experience the Shawnee National Forest and southern Illinois then the River to River Trail is for you."


Tunnel Hill State Trail

The Gem in Little Egypt

Bike rentals at Shawnee Hills EBike Rental.


Horse Back Riding

Giant City Stables

Honey Bee Stables

We keep talking about the beautiful waterfalls in southern Illinois. Here is a link to an article, written by one of our previous guests Les Winkeler for the southern Illinoisan. Check it out and feel free to share!

Southern Illinois Waterfalls

Lakes and Water Activites

Southern Illinois is home to several lakes for fishing, boating, flat-water kayaking, and even SCUBA diving. Rent a pontoon at Little Grassy for the day. Walk the trail around Devil's Kitchen Lake and enjoy the bluffs anytime of the year.
We highly recommend checking out White Crane Canoe Rentals and Guide Service. Schedule a tour and see some of the most beautiful places and wildlife on the Cache River you can only see on the water.
For the adrenaline rush seekers, The Shawnee Hills has an array of cliffs, rock climbing and now a zipline two miles from Rocky Comfort Cabins.


Night Zipline at Shawnee Canopy Tours

What to do first? Relax.