Shawnee National Forest Illinois (IL) RV Rentals

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Introduction

Nestled in the heart of Southern Illinois, Shawnee National Forest is a haven for RV camping enthusiasts. The history of this forest dates back to the early 1800s when it was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Shawnee. The unique landscape of the park is a result of natural occurrences such as glacial activity and erosion, which have created stunning rock formations, canyons, and waterfalls.

The park’s weather is mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to the mid-80s, making it an ideal destination for RV camping throughout the year. However, visitors should be aware of potential hazards such as flash floods and severe thunderstorms, especially during the spring and summer months. It is recommended to check the weather forecast before embarking on your trip and pack appropriate gear.

RVThereYet is an RV rental company, offering a diverse fleet of motorhomes, including Class A, Class B, and Class C Rentals, Travel, Trailers, and Motorhomes for unforgettable adventures in scenic RV parks and campsites in Shawnee National Forest. Ensure early reservations for camper rentals at Shawnee National Forest.

RV Rentals in Shawnee National Forest

Transportation

Getting to Shawnee National Forest is easy with several transportation options available. Visitors can access the park by car RV or motorcycle with multiple entrances located throughout the forest. It is important to note that some roads have restrictions on rig sizes so it is recommended to check with the park’s visitor center before embarking on your trip. Additionally some areas of the park may be closed during certain times of the year due to weather conditions so it is important to check the park’s website for updates before your visit.

RV parking is available in designated areas throughout the park. Overnight parking is restricted to designated campsites only. RV camping is a popular option for exploring the park but using alternative transportation methods such as hiking or biking is recommended for getting around.

Shawnee National Forest offers several transportation options including shuttle buses and walking paths. The Garden of the Gods Recreation Area and the Rim Rock Recreation Trail both have shuttle services available. Additionally there are numerous hiking trails throughout the park offering scenic views and opportunities for wildlife sightings.

Top Campsites in Shawnee National Forest

If you’re looking for the most popular campgrounds in or near Shawnee National Forest that require reservations here are the top 4 choices

Garden of the Gods Recreation Area

Located in the heart of the forest this campground has 85 sites and offers breathtaking views of the famous Garden of the Gods rock formations. It features hiking trails picnic tables fire rings and grills. Pets are welcome and RVs up to 30 feet are permitted. The campground is open from April to October.

Shawnee Forest Campground

This pet-friendly campground has 65 sites and is located just outside the forest in the town of Harrisburg. It offers full hookups for RVs up to 40 feet as well as tent sites. Amenities include a swimming pool playground and laundry facilities. The campground is open year-round.

Pyramid Acres Campground

Located on the banks of the Ohio River this campground has 66 sites and offers waterfront views. It features a boat ramp fishing pier and hiking trails. Pets are welcome and RVs up to 35 feet are permitted. The campground is open from April to October.

Giant City Campground

Located in the southern part of the forest this campground has 85 sites and offers easy access to the popular Giant City State Park. It features hiking trails picnic tables fire rings and grills. Pets are welcome and RVs up to 30 feet are permitted. The campground is open from April to October.

If you’re looking for first-come-first-served campgrounds in Shawnee National Forest here are 3 options

Jackson Falls

This campground has 25 sites and is located in the southern part of the forest. It offers hiking trails picnic tables fire rings and grills. Pets are welcome and RVs up to 30 feet are permitted. The campground is open year-round.

Pharaoh Campground

Located in the northeastern part of the forest this campground has 13 sites and offers easy access to the River to River Trail. It features picnic tables fire rings and grills. Pets are welcome and RVs up to 22 feet are permitted. The campground is open from April to October.

Pine Ridge Campground

This campground has 20 sites and is located in the central part of the forest. It offers hiking trails picnic tables fire rings and grills. Pets are welcome and RVs up to 30 feet are permitted. The campground is open from April to October.

If the campsites in Shawnee National Forest are full there are alternative camping options nearby. Here are a few options

Private Campgrounds

There are several private campgrounds located near the forest including Shawnee National Forest RV Resort Horseshoe Lake Campground and Lake Glendale Recreation Area. These campgrounds offer full hookups amenities like swimming pools and laundry facilities and a range of accommodations from tent sites to cabins.

Backcountry Camping

If you’re looking for a more rugged camping experience Shawnee National Forest offers backcountry camping options. You’ll need to obtain a free permit from the forest service but you’ll be rewarded with secluded campsites and stunning views of the forest.

Hiking the Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is a popular hiking spot in Shawnee National Forest featuring stunning rock formations and breathtaking views. The 1/4-mile trail is relatively easy and offers a unique opportunity to explore the forest’s natural beauty. The trailhead is located near Herod Illinois and is easily accessible by RV.

Biking the Tunnel Hill State Trail

Tunnel Hill State Traal is a 45-mile trail that runs through the heart of Shawnee National Forest. It’s a favorite among bikers for its scenic views and challenging terrain. The trail passes through several tunnels and over bridges offering a unique biking experience. The trailhead is located near Harrisburg Illinois and is accessible by RV.

Fishing at Little Grassy Lake

Little Grassy Lake is a popular fishing spot in Shawnee National Forest known for its large population of bass catfish and bluegill. The lake is surrounded by beautiful forests and offers a peaceful and relaxing fishing experience. The lake is located near Carbondale Illinois and is accessible by RV.

Cycling the River to River Trail

The River to River Trail is a 157-mile trail that runs from Battery Rock on the Ohio River to Devil’s Backbone Park on the Mississippi River. The trail runs through Shawnee National Forest and offers stunning views of the forest’s natural beauty. The trail is challenging and is recommended for experienced cyclists. The trailhead is located near Elizabethtown Illinois and is accessible by RV.

Camping at Cave-in-Rock State Park

Cave-in-Rock State Park is a popular camping spot in Shawnee National Forest offering stunning views of the Ohio River and the surrounding forests. The park features campgrounds cabins and a historic cave that was once a hideout for river pirates. The park is located near Cave-in-Rock Illinois and is accessible by RV.

Alternative Activities in Shawnee National Forest

Sightseeing at Pounds Hollow Lake

Pounds Hollow Lake is a beautiful lake located in Shawnee National Forest offering stunning views of the surrounding forests and hills. The lake is surrounded by hiking trails and picnic areas making it a great spot for sightseeing. The lake is located near Herod Illinois and is accessible by RV.

Nature Watching at Bell Smith Springs

Bell Smith Springs is a natural oasis located in Shawnee National Forest featuring crystal-clear springs waterfalls and lush vegetation. The area is home to a variety of wildlife including deer turkeys and birds. The springs are located near Ozark Illinois and are accessible by RV.

Instagram-Worthy Photo Opportunities at Jackson Falls

Jackson Falls is a stunning waterfall located in Shawnee National Forest offering breathtaking views and Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. The falls are surrounded by beautiful forests and hiking trails making it a great spot for nature lovers. The falls are located near Ozark Illinois and are accessible by RV.

Bird Watching at Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge is a protected area located in Shawnee National Forest featuring a variety of bird species including bald eagles great blue herons and warblers. The refuge is surrounded by beautiful wetlands and forests making it a great spot for bird watching. The refuge is located near Ullin Illinois and is accessible by RV.

Exploring the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail

The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail is a scenic drive through the picturesque vineyards of southern Illinois. The trail features 11 wineries each offering unique wines and tasting experiences. The trail is a great spot for wine lovers and offers stunning views of the surrounding forests and hills. The trail is located near Carbondale Illinois and is accessible by RV.

Season-specific experiences in Shawnee National Forest

Springtime in Shawnee National Forest is a beautiful sight to behold. For RV campers looking to explore the area during this season here are five recreational activities landmarks and famous places worth checking out

Garden of the Gods

This stunning rock formation is a must-visit for any nature lover. Located in the southern part of the forest it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Hiking trails wind through the area providing ample opportunities to take in the beauty of the rocks and the surrounding forest.

Location

Southern Shawnee National Forest IL

Cave-in-Rock State Park

This park is home to a large cave that was once used as a hideout by river pirates. Today it’s a popular spot for hiking and picnicking. Visitors can explore the cave and learn about its history or take a stroll along the riverfront trails.

Location

Cave-in-Rock IL

Bell Smith Springs

This series of crystal-clear springs and waterfalls is a hidden gem in the forest. It’s the perfect spot for a refreshing dip on a warm spring day. Hiking trails lead through the area offering stunning views of the springs and the surrounding forest.

Location

Herod IL

High Knob Lookout Tower

This tower offers panoramic views of the surrounding forest and countryside. Visitors can climb to the top for a bird’s-eye view of the area. On a clear day you can see for miles.

Location

Eddyville IL

Giant City State Park

This park is home to unique sandstone formations that resemble a city skyline. Hiking trails wind through the area providing opportunities to explore the formations up close. Visitors can also enjoy picnicking fishing and horseback riding.

Location

Makanda IL

Summer is the perfect time to explore Shawnee National Forest in an RV. Here are five recreational activities landmarks and famous places that are popular during the summer months

Lusk Creek Canyon

This canyon is a favorite spot for rock climbers and hikers alike. With its towering cliffs and lush vegetation it’s easy to see why. Visitors can take a guided tour or explore the area on their own.

Location

Ozark IL

Jackson Falls

This beautiful waterfall is located in the heart of the forest. It’s a popular spot for swimming picnicking and hiking. Visitors can take a dip in the pool at the base of the falls or hike to the top for a stunning view of the surrounding area.

Location

Ozark IL

Rim Rock Recreational Trail

This trail is a favorite among hikers and nature lovers. It winds along the edge of a cliff offering stunning views of the forest below. Visitors can hike the entire trail or simply take a leisurely stroll along the rim.

Location

Karbers Ridge IL

Shawnee Wine Trail

This trail takes visitors through the heart of Southern Illinois wine country. With its rolling hills and picturesque vineyards it’s a great way to spend a summer afternoon. Visitors can sample local wines and learn about the winemaking process.

Location

Southern Illinois

Ferne Clyffe State Park

This park is home to several stunning waterfalls including Big Rocky Hollow and Hawk’s Cave. Visitors can hike to the base of the falls or explore the surrounding forest. The park also offers picnicking fishing and camping.

Location

Goreville IL

Fall in Shawnee National Forest is a magical time of year with the leaves changing colors and the air turning crisp. Here are five recreational activities landmarks and famous activities that attract RV campers during this season.

Hiking the River to River Trail

This 160-mile trail stretches from Battery Rock on the Ohio River to Devil’s Backbone on the Mississippi River. During the fall the trail is particularly beautiful with the leaves changing colors and the temperatures cooling down. The trailhead can be found at the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area.

Exploring the Garden of the Gods

This iconic area of Shawnee National Forest is known for its unique rock formations and breathtaking views. During the fall the colors of the leaves make this area even more stunning. There are plenty of hiking trails and scenic overlooks to explore.

Visiting the Shawnee National Forest Heritage Site

This site preserves the history of the area including the Native American tribes that once lived there. During the fall the site hosts a number of events including a fall festival and a living history program. The site is located in Harrisburg.

Birdwatching

Shawnee National Forest is home to a variety of bird species including hawks eagles and owls. During the fall many of these birds migrate through the area making it a prime time for birdwatching. The Bell Smith Springs area is a popular spot for birdwatchers.

Horseback riding

With over 100 miles of horseback riding trails Shawnee National Forest is a great place for horseback riding enthusiasts. During the fall the trails are less crowded and the scenery is beautiful. The Dutchman Trail and the Indian Kitchen Trail are both popular options.

Winter in Shawnee National Forest offers a whole new set of recreational activities for RV campers. Here are five winter activities that are popular in the area.

Snowshoeing

With over 280 miles of trails Shawnee National Forest is a great place for snowshoeing. The trails range from easy to difficult so there’s something for everyone. The Rim Rock Trail and the Bell Smith Springs Trail are both popular options.

Ice Fishing

Many of the lakes and ponds in Shawnee National Forest are stocked with fish making them popular spots for ice fishing. Lake Glendale and Little Grassy Lake are both good options.

Cross-Country Skiing

There are over 10 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails in Shawnee National Forest. The trails are located at the Bell Smith Springs Area and offer a variety of difficulty levels.

Winter Hiking

While some trails may be closed due to snow many of the trails in Shawnee National Forest are still open for hiking during the winter. The Garden of the Gods Observation Trail is a popular option with stunning views of the snow-covered landscape.

Winter Wildlife Watching

Shawnee National Forest is home to a variety of wildlife including deer turkey and bald eagles. Winter is a great time to see these animals as they are more active during the colder months. The LaRue-Pine Hills Research Natural Area is a popular spot for winter wildlife watching.