Ferne Clyffe State Park in southern Illinois offers outdoor enthusiasts a wealth of activities and scenery to enjoy. This 2,430 acre park in the Shawnee Hills is quite popular and receives over 200,000 visitors per year. The park is most famous for its varied plant species, especially ferns, and the park’s unique rock formations, including limestone cliffs and caves. This beautiful location in southern Illinois is perfect for a day visit or a longer hiking or camping trip.
Things to Do
Visitors to the park can enjoy picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing. The park has 18 maintained trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels. Several of these trails allow horseback riding in spring, summer, and early fall.
Hunters will also enjoy the abundance of game in Ferne Clyffe State Park. There are squirrels, rabbits, quail and deer in the park. Be sure to check in at the ranger’s station before beginning your hunt. For fishermen, Ferne Clyffe Lake is a 16 acre lake that has an impressive population of bluegill, catfish, and largemouth bass. Boats are not permitted on the lake, but bank fishing is encouraged.
Finally, the park has a wide variety of camping facilities, including modern, primitive, group, and equestrian sites. This makes Ferne Clyffe State Park an idea location for a backpacker’s getaway or a youth group or scout retreat. The group sites have drinking water, showers, and modern bathroom facilities. For individuals wanting a more isolated camping experience, there are individual sites in secluded locations for more solitude. Additionally, there are seven picnic areas throughout the park for both campers and day guests. Each picnic area is equipped with grills, tables, and toilets.
Wildlife and Scenery
While there are many activities to participate in during a visit to the park, the area is most famous for its natural beauty. The park has over 700 species of plant life, including many ferns, for which the park received its name. The many kinds of trees in the park are especially beautiful in the fall.
There are also many interesting geological features scattered throughout the park, such as cliff caves, limestone bluffs, streams and waterfalls, and unique rock formations. Two of the most famous sites within the park are a 100 foot waterfall and Hawk’s Cave, a must-see site for visitors to the park. Wildlife in the park is plentiful; visitors will encounter squirrels, quail, many types of songbirds, and rabbits during their explorations in the woods.
Ferne Clyffe State Park makes an ideal location for a day adventure in the Illinois wilderness or an extended camping and hiking adventure for both individuals and groups. The park has a variety of activities for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. Visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of the park year round. For more information, call the park at 618-995-2411, or visit their website at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/r5/ferne.htm. The park’s address is:
Ferne Clyffe State Park
Rt. 37, P.O. Box 10
Goreville, Illinois 62939