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Hike Rim Rock National Recreation Trail

Junction, Illinois



1.7 miles

Elevation Gain

360 ft

Route Type



Added by Lucas Bremer

Slot canyons and a stone fort in the Shawnee National Forest.

Rim Rock Trail follows the edge of the bluff top, hence its name, and features vistas of a slot canyon below, a stone fort used by prehistoric Native Americans, a cave used on the Underground Railroad, and diverse wildlife habitats.

Located near very popular Garden of the Gods, Rim Rock is sometimes overlooked. It shouldn't be. Most of the trail is paved with rock, and after the first 100 yards you will come to a split to the left or right of the loop. At this junction is a stone wall built by Native Americans close to 800-900 years ago.

Continue on to the right and you will come to the top of the bluff. there is a option to take a stair case into a slot canyon. This will lead to Fat Man's Misery and small caves and arches that eventually arrive at the Ox-Lot Cave which was a stop on the Underground Railroad. There is a small spring here and you can see where pioneers would keep their live stock in the cool shelter cave. There is also a small creek and a side trail that will lead to Pound's Hollow Recreation Area.

Once back up the stairs continue to a explore the bluff line and see the glades and pine barrens that are home to endangered species and Prickly Pear Cactus (yes in Illinois).

There is an immense and diverse ecosystem on this trail which is the one reason in 1980 this place was designated a National Recreation Trail.

Quick Note: The stairs and bluffs are very slick when wet. There is also a picnic area at the trail head and most of the trail is handicapped accessible, though the canyon and lower trail are not.

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Rock Climbing
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Paddle or Swim at Pounds Hollow Recreation Area

Explore the Arch of the Gods

Garden of the Gods Trail

Hike the Garden of the Gods Observation Trail

Visit Iron Furnace Historic Site

Hike to Cave-in-Rock