Local Attractions

Shawnee National Forest

The living beauty of the Shawnee National Forest spreads to the west and south of Murphysboro, with many points of interest only miles away. The forest is topographically diverse, covering 1/4 million richly wooded acres full of natural formations including lakes, ponds, rivers, rock formations, caves, hills and bluffs.

Other natural wonders are nearby. As the Big Muddy River winds its way to the Mississippi, it loops around the Little Grand Canyon National Recreational Trail, where steps carved in stone lead visitors down into a ruggedly scenic valley where ferns and other rare plants grow.

Oakwood Bottoms and Turkey Bayou offer glimpses of a forgotten natural landscape. Remote wilderness and wetlands access gives visitors a close up look at wild animal and plant life through walking trails and scenic overlooks.

The Pomona Natural Bridge is a natural stone formation located only 10 miles south of Murphysboro. The unique sandstone arch was carved by water over thousands of years.

Other notable sites within convenient driving or bicycling distance include Cedar LakeCrab Orchard Wildlife RefugeGiant City State Park or the spectacular stone bluffs of Pine Hill.

These habitats are rich in wildlife of all varieties. Scheduled hunting seasons are available for deer, goose, pheasant, quail, rabbit, squirrel and turkey.

Kinkaid Lake

For more details,

contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at:
Lake Murphysboro State Park
52 Cinder Hill Drive
Murphysboro, IL 62966
fax 618.687.1220
Located in southwestern Illinois’ Jackson County, Kinkaid Lake is approximately 5 miles northwest of Murphysboro and 100 miles southeast of St. Louis. Built in 1968, the lake encompasses 2,750 acres. The ownership of the surrounding land is divided among the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which manages approximately 4,000 acres; the U.S. Forest Service, which administers 5,000 acres; and Kinkaid-Reed’s Creek Conservancy District, which oversees 300 acres.
Topography varies from sandstone bluff formations to rolling hills surrounding the lake where oaks and hickories predominate. Numerous flat contours are planted with prairie grasses, cool-season grasses and wildlife food plots.
Four boat ramps are available to the public with a full-service marina available. No horsepower restrictions apply, although numerous no-wake areas exist on the lake.
Facilities & Picnicking
Picnic tables, shelters, charcoal grills and restroom facilities are provided at Johnson Creek Recreation Area and Paul Ice Recreation Area, which also has playground equipment.
Camping is permitted by the US Forest Service and Kinkaid-Reed’s Creek Conservancy District, and at Johnson Creek Recreation Area at Kinkaid Village Marina. Camping is not allowed on DNR property.
The lake offers fishing for largemouth bas, bluegill, crappie, catfish, walleye, and muskie.
Statewide regulations govern hunting at the site. Species available are deer, turkey, squirrel, quail, rabbit, dove, and waterfowl.

Pomona Natural Bridge

This fascinating stone arch, often referred to as a natural bridge, was formed by the forces of erosion over millions of years. This formation and other rock outcrops in the area consist of sandstone, a fairly soft, erodible bedrock. Water exerted its most powerful effect here, gradually washing away softer, less resistant sandstone leaving a natural rock bridge, spanning 90 feet.

Trail Highlights

Short loop trails lead through a mature oak-hickory and beech forest. As the trail descends to the creek bottom an overlook reveals a view of the natural bridge from above. There is a great photo spot at the base of the rock bridge where a semicircle of trees and rock outcroppings serve as a beautiful backdrop for this natural wonder.
Trail Specifications

Length: 1/3 Mile
Travel Time: 1 Hour
Surface Type: Dirt
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate; Contains slopes up to 40%
Recommended Seasons: Spring, summer, and fall
Facilities: Parking, accessible restrooms & accessible picnic area (with grills).
Trail Ethics: Pack it in, Pack it out. Stay on designated trail and leave the beauty of the rocks, plants, and animals for others to enjoy.

Directions: From Murphysboro take highway 127 south 9 miles to Pomona Road; then west 3 miles. From Alto Pass go north 4 miles on State Highway 127 to Pomona Road; then west 3 miles.

Little Grand Canyon

Over time, erosion has carved this deep box canyon exposing its majestic bluffs. Below thrives a cool and lush bottomland habitat upon the canyon floor. Along the upper portions of the trail, visitors encounter expansive views of eth colorful cliffs, the Big Muddy River, and the Mississippi floodplain. The canyon floor showcases seasonal waterfalls, large sandstone overhangs, and towering beech and sycamore trees.

Wildlife Viewing

Known for its plant and animal diversity, this area also provides a haven for many neotropical migratory songbirds during the Spring and Fall. Year-round residents include raccoon, mink, fox, deer, and bobcat along with several birds, amphibians and reptiles. The rock ledges serve as snake dens for the copperhead, cottonmouth, and timber rattler, along with a few nonpoisonous species. From the scenic overlooks turkey vultures and hawks are often seen, soaring over the treetops.
Trail Specifications

Length: 3.6 Miles
Travel Time: 2.5 to 3 hours
Surface Type: Asphalt and Dirt
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult; Contains slopes up to 80%
Recommended Seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall

Facilities: Parking, accessible rest rooms, picnic area with grills, and interpretive signs.

Safety: Flash floods occur in the canyon, be aware of developing weather conditions. Extra caution should be used where the trail is near the bluffs at the entrances into the canyon and when traveling on wet, slippery rocks. Be aware of hunting seasons. Poison ivy, dead snags and poisonous snakes are present in the canyon.

Trail Markings: White Diamond

Trail Ethics: Pack it in, Pack it out. Say on designated trail and leave the beauty of the rocks, plants, and animals for others to enjoy.

Driving Directions

From Murphysboro take State Highway 127 south 6 miles to Etherton road; then west 5 miles.

From Alto Pass go north 7 miles on State Highway 127 to Etherton road; then west 5 miles.
From the ranger station take 20th Street south 1.5 miles to Hickory Ridge Road; then south 7 miles to the site. Look for directional signs along the way.

Local Golf Courses

Murphysboro has several quality golf courses nearby.

They are:

Country Club Road

Murphysboro, IL 62966
(618) 684-2387


2727 Glen Road
Carbondale, IL 62901


309 Midland Hills
Makanda, IL


503 Stone Creek Drive
Makanda, IL

Shawnee Hills Wine Trail

Raise Your Glass to a Great Time in Southern Illinois!
Murphysboro is the perfect base of operations to explore Southern Illinois’s growing wine area. Start your morning with a hearty country breakfast then browse the antique stores downtown before heading off to the many vineyards along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, located just a few miles down scenic Highway 127.

Visitors can stop at any number of tasting rooms to sample award-winning wines and browse the gift shops, many of which feature work by local artists. For shopping enthusiasts, other unique shops and artist studios can be found along the way or indulge in some fruit cobbler right at the orchard!

At the end of the day, return to Murphysboro to enjoy one of our many
fine restaurants and accommodations.  Many of the wineries regularly offer music and entertainment on weekends, as well as offering facilities for that special private event.

For music and entertainment schedules, directions, or information on event facilities, check the website for individual vineyards below or go to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail website.

Alto Vineyards
PO Box 51, Hwy 127
Alto Pass, IL 62905

Blue Sky Vineyard
3150 S. Rocky Comfort Road
Makanda, IL 62958

Cellars de Santom
2709 Lone Oak Road
Ava, IL 62907
Hedman Vineyard & Orchard
560 Alto Pass, IL 62905

Kite Hill Vineyard B&B
119 Kite Hill Road
Murphysboro, IL 62966

Monte Alegre Vineyard
4473 Ponce Trail
Carbondale, IL 62901

Owl Creek Winery
2655 Water Valley Road
Cobden, IL 62920

Pomona Winery
2865 Hickory Ridge Road
Pomona, IL 62975

Starview Winery
5100 Winghill Road
Cobden, IL 62920
618.893.WINE (9463)

Von Jakob Vineyards, Ltd.
1309 Sadler Road
Pomona, IL 62975