The Hawk’s Cave Trail in Southern Illinois is one of the best in the Midwest and leads hikers to the largest shelter bluff in the state. The Hawk’s Cave Trail is located in Ferne Clyffe State Park at 90 Goreville Rd, in Goreville, Illinois. For more information, click here.

The Hawk’s Creek Trail is only a half mile in length, but that half mile packs a mighty punch because there is just so much to see and explore.

The trail winds through picturesque woods, allowing visitors to view fascinating rock formations and inspiring vistas. Ferne Clyffe also offers camping, picnicking, hiking, hunting and fishing.

Located on Illinois Route 37, just one mile south of Goreville and 12 miles south of Marion, the 2,430-acre Johnson County park is easily accessible from both I-57 and I-24.

Ferne Clyffe has a campground for every type of camper: modern, primitive, youth groups, backpack or equestrian. Shower facilities offered at some campgrounds are available seasonally. Some campsites can be reserved online at ExploreMoreIL.

Horseback riders can ride directly to their own Class C Equestrian campground on the trail, or drive to it in their vehicles. Up to 25 riders can be accommodated at the site, which includes picnic tables, drinking water, cooking grills, toilets, parking and showers. The campground is well-shaded by an abundance of trees, and you must protect the trees by tying horses to the hitching rails.

Bank fishermen will be impressed by Ferne Clyffe Lake’s populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish and redear in the lake. Hunters will appreciate the 1,750 acres of forested habitat, with good populations of deer and squirrel. Quail and rabbit populations are fair.

Since 1960, the 16-acre Ferne Clyffe Lake has offered visitors additional recreational and scenic opportunities. The lake has a maximum depth of 22 feet, and a hiking trail is on the 1-mile shoreline. The lake is open to bank fishing, but boating and swimming are prohibited. Spectacular views of the lake can be seen from Lake-view Picnic Shelter and Blackjack Oak Trail.

Ferne Clyffe has been a favorite picnic spot for decades. Seven picnic areas have tables, cooking grills, parking and toilets, and several also have shelters, drinking water and playground equipment. Only park grills or personal cook-stoves should be used for cooking.

Eighteen diverse trails offer visitors the chance to view the beauty of Ferne Clyffe at their own pace. Motorized vehicles and bicycles are not permitted on the trails. Naturally occurring dangerous areas exist within the park, so hike on designated trails, exercise awareness and caution. Each trail has been assigned a number, as well as a name, to make map reading easy for even the novice hiker.

My personal favorite trails include the Hawk’s Cave Trail and the Big Rocky Hollow Trail. Both of these provide stunning views and an excellent hike. The trails are shaded and well marked and are fairly easy to navigate!

If your looking for nearby lodging, click here. If you want to find more hidden gems nearby, click here. For the areas best family activities, click here.