Slip and Slide to 5 Icy Shawnee National Forest Photos

1. Secret Ice Fall

Boulder Creek Falls

Boulder Creek Falls – This frozen waterfall is one of those hidden gems in Illinois that you must get off the beaten path to view.  Located near the Jackson Hollow Natural Area just west of Jackson Falls, this 50-60 foot giant is difficult to see flowing during the summer, but if the conditions are like this winter with frigid nights for over a week , you may be greeted by seeing this waterfall frozen.

2. Wrapped Around the Ice

Bulge Hole Waterfall

Bulge Hole Ecological Area – What’s with the name?  Not for sure, but this area is an awesome “forgotten” area that  few visit.  With no signs or trails, this horseshoe canyon is an off-trail adventure.  There are no less than four waterfalls in the area.  Although they are not as large as some of the giants like Bork’s Waterfall, they do seem to be slightly more enjoyable, because you know that they take some navigating skills to find.

3.  Scaling the Frozen Waterfall

Bulge Hole Ecological Area

Shawnee National Forest Bulge Hole – Sometimes you come across ice formations that you do not expect.  This is the case for this second frozen waterfall in the Bulge Hole Ecological Area.  Although the flow of this side stream is low, the week-long below freezing temperatures turned cold, slow-moving water into a beautiful frozen ice sculpture.  To get a sense of the height of this waterfall, the person in the photo (my brother) is over six-foot tall.

4.  Embedded Icicles

Bulge Hole

Into the Rock at Bulge Hole – You never know where you are going to see ice forming on a cold winter’s day.  Located not far from Photo #2, this interesting composition shows how freezing and thawing water sculpts the sandstone we view today.

5. Topsy-Turvy Icicles

Shawnee National Forest Ice

Bulge Hole Shelter – When you think of icicles, the image that comes to mind is long, thin columns of ice flowing down from overhangs, but sometimes that is not always the case.  Located deep under an enormous shelter in the Shawnee National Forest are icicles that grow from the ground up.  After careful examination, it was noticed that water was slowly dripping at an angle, then down onto the cold rocky ground.  The overhang composition did not allow the dripping water to cling to it, thus preventing the ice from forming from the top down.  Awesome!

Oops! Be Careful

Hiking in Icy Conditions can be dangerous.  The risk of falling is high, so please use precautions when visiting any area in wintery conditions.  For better grip on the icy and snowy surfaces check out our article on Staying Upright in Wintery Conditions.


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  1. Leo Basham says

    I appreciate all of your work; but I have been taken by your Winter excursions and photos.
    I have been blessed with opportunities to visit the Shawnee National Forest in Summer months. However, your Winter photos only strengthen my dreams and desires live closer to the Forest.
    I live close to the Hoosier National Forest where I have often camped and hiked. That forest has it’s share of Earth’s beauty; but I feel that Southern Illinois grabbed onto much more of that wonder!


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