Rim Rock's monster stair case to go down into the crevasse!
Rim Rock National Recreation Area & Trail scenic overlook deck.
Kids exploring the crevasse at Rim Rock in the Shawnee National Forest
Climbing on rocks along Rim Rock Trail in Southern Illinois

Rim Rock Recreation Area & Trail

View magnificent scenery from the top of Rim Rock! Known for their outstanding floral beauty, the upper and lower trails are flush with woodland flowers each Spring! The trail at Rim Rock is so beautiful that it was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1980 and makes a perfect setting for picnicking or hiking. However, the beauty here is not only found at surface level; Rim Rock has deep connections with American history!

Rim Rock's Upper Trail

The right half of the trail is wheelchair accessible with assistance; however, taking the trail left will lead you over stairs and fairly steep slopes. Please keep pets on a leash and keep young children close as there are steep drop-offs near the trail’s edge.

The upper trail is paved with flagstone pavers and is of moderate difficulty, but has plenty of benches to rest and take in the natural setting. Use extreme caution in wet weather as the rocks, pavers, and wooden staircases can be slippery.

Past the remnants of a Native American rock wall approximately half way through this half mile trail, follow the trail and circle back to the parking lot or look for the stair case providing access to Rim Rock’s lower trail.

Lower Trail at Rim Rock

Slip through the squeeze coined Fat Man’s Misery as you descend the staircase and take a right to walk North to Ox-Lot Cave. This unique overhang was a stopping point for the Underground Railroad and frequently sheltered livestock as travelers passed through the area.

More strenuous than the upper trail, the lower dirt trail has various steep inclines and multiple stair structures yet provides a magnificent view of the beautiful striated rock formations that make up this unique escarpment.

Take the lower trail past Ox-Lot Cave and connect with Beaver Trail to find yourself at Pounds Hollow Lake in a half mile or follow the trail around Rim Rock to circle back to the picnic area near the trailhead for a picturesque picnic lunch!

The Pounds

Early settlers called this sandstone escarpment “The Pounds,” Old English for “some sort of enclosure,” which lent its name to Pounds Hollow, the valley to the East. The upper trail at Rim Rock follows the edge of the escarpment looking out over the scenic vistas of Shawnee National Forest and, from the Northeast corner, provides a beautiful view overlooking Pounds Hollow Lake.

Driving Directions

To take advantage of this historic beauty, take Highway 34 to Karbers Ridge Road and turn East. Follow Karbers Ridge Road 8.3 miles to the Rim Rock entrance road.

Lodging Sponsors