Shawnee National Forest Guide

During the 1800s, the Shawnee National Forest was home to several stops on the Underground Railroad; enslaved people traveled between safe waypoints on the way to freedom in the North. Today, it's a protected area with historical markers that help you learn about the brave people who once journeyed through the tree-covered hills. As it was in the past, Shawnee is an area of remarkably diverse natural beauty and recreational opportunities—in one day, you can hike up otherworldly stone bluffs, fish in 11 different lakes, or get a thrill on a high-speed motorbike ride. Whether you're in the mood for adventure or relaxation, a slew of activities awaits visitors year-round.

Where to Camp

Camping in Shawnee National Forest

An RV is an excellent way to explore the Shawnee National Forest. Whether you make a home base in one campground or drive to different spots, your RV is a home away from home no matter the season. Make the most of your vacation by renting an RV through RVshare from a local owner; pick the model that fits your group size to ensure that your crew sleeps comfortably and wakes up ready for adventure.

RV Rentals Near Shawnee National Forest

Shape Hiking Trails

Shawnee National Forest Hiking Trails

Things to Do

Activities in Shawnee National Forest

The Shawnee National Forest covers more than 265,000 acres; you can find a new activity for every hour of your visit. If you have time for just one thing, head straight to the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area. Here, massive sandstone pillars peek out of the forest, creating spectacular views and hiking opportunities including great stargazing at night. For a relaxing day, take a drive along LaRue Hills Road or the Ohio River National Scenic Byway.

map-marker-alt-regular How to Get There

How to get to Shawnee National Forest

Address: 50 Hwy 145 South, Harrisburg, IL 62946

Fee: Entry fee $0

Whether you're coming for the fascinating history or the beautiful scenery, the Shawnee National Forest has activities to keep you busy for days. Explore on foot, or enjoy scenic drives through the trees any time of year. An RV is a great way to see the forest; it acts as your mobile home base and enables you to camp comfortably no matter the weather.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Shawnee National Forest

Is there a fee to get into Shawnee National Forest?

No, there is not a fee to get into Shawnee National Forest. However, there may be fees required to visit some of the forest's most popular day-use sites including Garden of the Gods. There may also be additional fees to camp in developed campgrounds.

Is there a limit to how long you can camp in Shawnee National Forest?

Yes, there is a limit to how long you can camp at Shawnee National Forest. Dispersed campers can stay a maximum of 14 days in one spot before they need to move on. Developed campgrounds usually have the same maximum stay requirement, but it's best to check with the campground to be sure.

Is Shawnee National Forest open all year round?

Yes, Shawnee National Forest is open year-round. Thanks to the pleasant climate, you can explore the forest all year long and will likely have great weather for doing so.

What type of wildlife lives in Shawnee National Forest?

Wildlife including bears, mountain lions, skunks, chipmunks, groundhogs, beavers, and armadillos all live in the Shawnee National Forest. You'll also find a variety of birds, reptiles, and fish in various forest environments.

What is the closest town to Shawnee National Forest?

Bloomfield is one of the closest towns to Shawnee National Forest. There are restaurants, lodgings, campgrounds, and shops where campers can restock or pick up a memento of their trip.