Shawnee National Forest – Part II Ferne Clyff Waterfall Trail and Cave in the Rock


The waterfall trail (#5 on the map) is a ½ mile long trail in the Ferne Clyffe State Park.  The park itself covers 2,430 acres and contains 18 trails of varying degrees of difficulty.  The waterfall trail is rustic but not difficult.  By rustic I mean it is not paved or really even flat, but easy to navigate.

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This time of year, the waterfall is typically dry, however, the day before our hike, southern Illinois got an unseasonal couple of inches of snow.  I was hoping, with the warmer temperature that day, we might see a small one with the melting snow.  Sadly, no, but we got some other great views.  During our hike, the sun was shining and the melting snow from the trees made it feel like we were walking through a rain forest.

The precipitation also provided a beautiful snow-covered landscape for our hike.

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At the end of the trail, during a wetter season, you can see the waterfall cascading over the top of a giant rock formation.

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During our weekend trip, we also found our way to the Cave in Rock State Park.  Specifically, to see the cave in the rock.  Technically, this scenic point is just over the border into Kentucky.  So now I can say I have been to Kentucky.  Although there are other trails nearby, this geological wonder is a popular destination even for non-hikers.  I wouldn’t even call this one a hike.  At the base of a fairly short staircase, you can see the mouth of the cave to the left.

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The cave itself is not very deep and there is nothing particularly creepy about it.  No bats or hibernating animals to worry about.

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My favorite picture was taken upon leaving.  The view coming back out was of the sun shining down on the Ohio river.  Spectacular.

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There are so many hiking trails and points of interest in the Shawnee National Forest.  I plan to spend another long weekend down there exploring more of them!

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