Thursday, April 24, 2014
Pomona Natural Bridge - Southern Illinois - Shawnee Forest

The Pomona Natural Bridge located in Pomona Illinois is a great quick hike for all ages.  This hidden hiking treasure is a 15-30 minute drive from several Southern Illinois towns such as Carbondale, Cobden, Alto Pass, Murphysboro and Anna.  Natural Land Bridge - Shawnee National Forest, Southern Illinois

The Hiking Trail

There is ample parking at the trail head and the actual hiking trail is easily identified with its gravel cover and small blue sign.  The trail begins to slope downward immediately after it begins at a moderate rate .  Not more than a quarter mile into the hike, the path comes to a fork.  Going left will slightly increase your travel distance to the Natural Bridge,  but is much more kid friendly.   There are one or two small walking platforms raised 1-2 feet above the mostly dry creek along the way.  Going right at the fork and traveling around a 100 yards the hiker will see some railings twisting right.  It is at these rails the first glimpse of the Natural Bridge come into view.   Following this trail on around it will come out on the high side of the bridge.   The trail makes a complete loop that is around 1/3 of mile long starting and ending at the fork.

The Natural Bridge

The bridge is right at 90 feet long and a little over 8 feet wide at its widest point.   The bridge begins about 30 feet in the air and slopes slightly downward  to around 20-25 feet at the other end.  Pomona Natural Bridge - Pomona, Illinois, Shawnee National ForestBeing made entirely of sandstone it’s obvious the bridge was carved out over many years of water wearing at it.

Best part of the Hike – a Cave!

The Natural Bridge is pretty neat to see, but my kids found climbing on the rocks and playing by the small creek below the bridge to be most enjoyable.   To our surprise we also found a very shallow cave just a few yards downstream of the bridge.   Definitely lots of great exploring to be done in the area for all ages.

Summary

Pomona Natural Bridge - Below the bridge, Shawnee National ForestThis is a quick and easy hike with a high reward after a very short hike.  I really hesitate to call this a hike as I regularly walk further  going from the parking lot at Wal-Mart into the store.   Being located just off of the Southern Illinois Wine trail, this needs to be a must see for those visitors.   This is a perfect hike to  pepper in any hiking itinerary to the Shawnee National Forest and Southern Illinois area.

 

 Suggestions & Observations

  • Time to allocate 30 Minutes – 90 Minutes
  • Bug spray in summer & early fall
  • Not stroller friendly
  • No camping or major backpacking areas

Great Trail Map provided by Forestry Service (PDF version)

Lodging Near Pomona Natural Bridge
Hiking Video - Pomona Natural Bridge

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