5 Cool Videos of Southern Illinois Waterfalls

5 Cool Videos of Southern Illinois Waterfalls

– by Gary Marks

Have you ever wondered where are the best places to see waterfalls in Southern Illinois?

You’re Not Alone.  Recently we have seen a huge spike in readers interested in those elusive Illinois waterfalls.

The waterfalls here in Southern Illinois are only intermittent and do not flow throughout the year.

The best times to see these waterfalls are in the spring and late fall when the moist air of the south and the frigid air of the Arctic collide to create downpours.

What is listed below is not necessarily the Easy Waterfalls to get to, but a collection of interesting and unique Southern Illinois Waterfalls.

Please be aware that some of the roads leading to these falls may require a high clearance vehicle and preferably a 4×4.  Also, this article does not give you detailed information on how to get to each waterfall.  Like any true explorer you must plan and use your common sense when venturing to any of these falls.  Waterfalls can be beautiful, but also very dangerous.  Stay away from the top and be aware that if they are flowing, the rock will be slippery.

1.  Ferne Clyffe Main Waterfall

Located on the Big Rocky Hollow Trail, this waterfall is probably the most photogenic in Southern Illinois.

This is, also, the most visited falls in Southern Illinois.  The flat well-maintained trail is a .75 mile roundtrip hike.

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2.  Bork’s Falls

If I could rename this fall it would be Twin Falls, because of the elegant way the water funnels down from above.

This waterfall is located on the detached section of Ferne Clyffe State Park.

One must take great caution when venturing to this one.  Regent Lane leads down a rutted gravel road that descends steeply to the creek bed.   A 4×4 is highly recommended.

This is one of the rare waterfalls that you can drive over the top, but when it is flowing is not advisable because the brink of the falls is just feet away.


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3.  Red Cedar Falls

This is the most elusive and hardest to find of the five on this list, but like many Southern Illinois waterfalls, if you keep your eyes and ears open you just might find that “private” waterfall that lies mere feet off the trail.

That is the case with this waterfall located on the 12-mile Red Cedar Hiking Trail.  This is a great waterfall to discover on your own.

I will give you the hint it is located on the 1.62 mile section between Shiloh Rd and Giant City State Park Rd.

Not for newbies, save this one when you have the time and proper hiking skills to navigate more “remote” locations.

4.  Jackson Falls

This area is more well know with rock climbers than hikers.

The road leading to the falls is similar to Bork’s Falls, but longer and less steep near the end.  I have personally had to abort several attempts to view this fall in a passenger vehicle, because the road was either rutted out or too muddy.

The parking area lies to the right just before the road crosses the creek, no need to drive through the creek.  Walk less than .25 mile to view from the top, but be careful super slippery!


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5.  Rocky Bluff Falls

Just off the road this one is easy to get to, but requires a National Wildlife Refugee permit to visit.

Located near Devils Kitchen lake on the Rocky Bluff Trail, this waterfall is a double tier curtain fall that one of the most unusual in Southern Illinois.


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Disclaimer: Caution: Waterfalls can be dangerous. Rocks are slippery. Never get close to the edge. The author and Shawnee Hills Outdoors disclaim any liability or loss incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application on any information contained in this blog.

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About Gary Marks

Explore - Photograph - Live. Three words that describe my love of nature. These photos and articles are my small attempt to bring to others the great "undiscovered" beauty of Southern Illinois and beyond. It is my hope that you will view this website and leave with a better understanding of the area and will motivate you to get outside where ever you live and explore your own backyard.

Comments

  1. Good list, I’ve not heard of Red Cedar Falls before. I like to take people to the Kinkaid spillway too, they are usually impressed by its sheer power and it is usually still running during the dry months when most of the other falls are dry or trickling.

  2. Gary Marks says:

    Thanks Taylor. I’ve never seen it on a map and don’t know if it has a true name. Love the Kincaid. It’s a great place and it really should be flowing this time of year. Thanks again for the comment

  3. Hi Gary, Is Bork’s Falls the one we went to years ago with your mom? I remember it being a twin waterfall, the greenery was more leafed out when we went if this is the same place. Jackson Falls also looks familiar. I miss taking walks with you and your mom. I lived in Southern Illinois for twenty years and never saw most of the sights you talk about. So even if I can’t be there, I can still be there thanks to your videos! Love your website.

  4. Gary Marks says:

    Thanks, Phyllis. Yes that was Bork’s Falls. It had the giant overhand shelter and I believe we walked back to another off-trail waterfall where we saw some columbine growing on the top of some giant rocks. You need to get out with again, but I know it is always hard to do, maybe a vacation just to go hiking is in store.

    I think that is what I love most about creating this website, I like to show people what beauty lies just right out the door. Not many people think of Southern Illinois when they consider hiking destinations, but for anyone I recommend a good romp in the Hills of Southern Illinois to change their mind.

  5. This is a great list! We plan to hike Red Cedar tomorrow and will be on the lookout for that one. Another hike that features many waterfalls this time of year is Little Grand Canyon…part of the path IS a waterfall, and a beautiful one! Quite flooded at the bottom, of course, but a lot of fun to explore! Also, nearer Steeleville, IL is Piney Creek Ravine. It is pretty remote and small, but some impressive water features there as well.

  6. Gary Marks says:

    Thanks Rachel. Hope you found the Red Cedar Waterfall. It can be difficult to spot. Little Grand Canyon is beautiful, but the canyon can be dangerous when wet. Be on the look out for some Piney Creek Ravine Waterfalls photos coming soon. Thanks again for commenting. Love when people do.