Ox-lot Cave, Rim Rock National Recreation Trail

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Tucked away in the rolling Shawnee Hills of southern Illinois is Rim Rock National Recreation Trail.  Rim Rock Trail meanders along the edge of the bluff top, hence its name, and features vistas of a canyon below, remnants of pre-historic Native American life and diverse habitats.

Whether you’re looking for a place to picnic with your family, hike, study Native American culture or native ecosystems or just enjoy the peaceful beauty of nature, Rim Rock National Recreation Trail and picnic area is the place for you.

What you’ll notice…

What Will I See?
  • Sandstone bluffs
  • Twisted ancient cedar trees
  • Remnants of a stone wall built by Late-Woodland Indians
  • Enormous beech and poplar trees in the canyon
  • Fat Man’s Misery, a huge crevice in the rock face
  • Excellent location for nature viewing
  • Lush hardwood forest
  • Outstanding geologic formations
About This Destination

Consisting of more than 280,000 acres, the Shawnee National Forest lies in the rough, unglaciated areas of southern Illinois known as the Ozark and Shawnee Hills. Truly the heartland of the U.S., this region is where six natural ecological regions meet, resulting in a diversity of plant and animal species and unique geological features.

What Should I Know?

Amenities: Vault toilets and a picnic area with tables and pedestal grills.

Operating hours:  Rim Rock Recreation Trail and picnic area open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. open year-round.

Fees:  None

Reservations:  None

Nearest Town: Rim Rock is located approximately 23 miles south of Harrisburg, Ill. 

Think safety: Trail tread may be slippery during or after rain or snow. Use caution when using the wooden staircase and stone steps leading to the canyon floor and Ox-Lot Cave. Be aware that large icicles form along the bluff walls during the winter months and the trail and staircase may be icy.

Accessibility:  The picnic area and vault toilets are accessible; however portions of the Rim Rock Recreation Trail are not. For the accessible portion of the trail, take the left leg of the trail as you leave parking lot and trailhead.

Trail ethics:  Stay on the designated trail. Rappelling and rock climbing are prohibited.  Pack out what you pack in. Pets are allowed only on a leash.

How Do I Get There?

37 36’ 8.76” N, 88 16’ 41.97” W