Rim Rock Trail 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 staircase providing access to Rim Rock’s lower trail.

Lower Rim Rock Trail

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 Near Pounds Hollow

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.

Where is Rim Rock Trail Illinois?

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. Don’t forget to stop in for a “Selfie with The Shawnee Forest Bigfoot” photo op at the intersection of Garden of Gods Road and Karbers Ridge Road!

What is near Rim Rock Trail Illinois?

This northeastern area of the Shawnee National Forest holds what some call “The Trifecta of the Forest.” When in the area be sure to visit the most popular hike in the Shawnee, the beautiful Garden of the Gods Illinois, traveling east down Karbers Ridge Road you can stop and hike the trails of Rim Rock. Simply continue east on Karbers Ridge a couple more miles to Pounds Hollow Lake where you can continue hiking, or enjoy the sandy beach area for a swim, a great spot to cool off in the summer!

High Knob is a recently re-introduced trail for the area. Due to budget constraints the trails there had become overgrown, and many found them unusable. However, the Forest Service had once again cleared paths, and rebuild wooden steps so that the loop hike around the base, and along the bluffs of High Knob can be enjoyed again. Scramble up to the top of High Knob for the vistas that Southern Illinois is known for!

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