Jackson Falls offers many opportunities for technical climbing and is a beautiful scenic area of the Shawnee National Forest. It is in the general forest area located east of the small town of Ozark, IL. This non-developed area has a small trailhead with a vault toilet. A short trail leads from the trailhead to the top of Jackson Falls. There are high dangerous bluffs in the area, visitors should be cautious and aware of their surroundings. Camping is allowed here at no cost, since this is part of the general forest area and not a developed campground. Access: A narrow gravel road leads to the Jackson Falls Trailhead, but then the road becomes dirt and deadends past the trailhead.
Jackson offers some of the best rock climbing in southern Illinois. There are about 60 climbing areas along the sandstone bluffs and freestanding boulders, with multiple routes. Most of the routes here are sport routes, though there are a number of trad routes.
There are primative campsites on both sides of Glen Street Falls Road near the trailhead. You can drive right up and park next to your campsite. If those campsites are full, there are additional campsites further down the road.
Most campsites have fire rings. There are no picnic tables or campfire grills there. There are also no garbage cans. You must pack out all of your garbage. You also need to bring your own drinking water as there is no fresh water there.
There's a single outhouse at the trailhead that is well maintained and pretty clean.
Fun hiking trails and beautiful sites! Hidden away gem for a fun afternoon of hiking. Can be hard to navigate at times but easily worth the climb up and down.
This is dispersed camping within the Shawnee National Forest. The area can be tricky to find if you are unfamiliar with the area. It can also get very crowded on nice days due to its proximity to the college campus. It is also very popular with rock climbers and people on horseback. I found the trails to be somewhat confusing and not well marked. I was here Easter weekend and the weather was great, so there were a lot of tents set up right near the parking area. If you don’t mind hiking in a bit, peace and quiet can be found.
Bring your own firewood. From inside the state of IL of course. The hiking is incredible.
Jackson Falls is popular with climbers and has many marked routes. You are able to camp right along the water near the parking pull out and if you don't mind hikers passing by, it is a beautiful location. We were out in spring after a mid-march snow fall and melt which meant good water. I would love to come back in warmer weather to get wet. I would imagine warmer weather brings crowds.
This place is popular with climbers, but I’m not one and had a rough time locating this place. The roads weren’t marked the same way they are on the website’s map, and the trailheads are confusing as well. I’m not sure how or if families manage to reach the bottom of the falls since there’s no clear way to climb down on either trail. We still had a great time, there are great campsites, and the whole surrounding area is awesome.