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.
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.
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!
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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