When planning an expedition along the River to River Trail in Shawnee National Forest in IL, find restful lodging through the Illinois Bed and Breakfast Association. The River to River Hiking Trail in Southern Illinois spans from Battery Rock on the Ohio River to Devil's Backbone in Grand Tower on the Mississippi River and includes several points of access throughout the route. This trail is part of the American Discovery Trail, which extends from Point Reyes National Seashore in California to Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware and is over 5,000 miles.
Along the River-to-River Trail, hikers will have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful scenery in this country including the Shawnee National Forest Wilderness, Giant City State Park, Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge, Ferne Clyffe State Park, Devil's Backbone Park, Cedar Lake, Camel Rock, Battery Rock, the Gap, and small towns such as Alto Pass, Makanda, and Rock Creek, IL. While traveling this trail, hikers will experience stunning panoramas and peaceful water features.
Hikers have the opportunity to see an assortment of wildlife as this is the intersection of southern/northern and eastern/western ecosystems. Possible wildlife sightings include the river otter, coyote, bobcat, and rattlesnakes, in addition to a variety of birds including the bald eagle, wild turkey, blue heron, and yellow warbler.
The trail is approximately 160 miles and takes about 2 to 3 weeks to travel in its entirety. The terrain is considered to be easy to difficult with no long sustained climbs but several grades that are described as rugged.
Directional trail-markers are white diamonds with a blue "i," but it is suggested that hikers also use a map and compass and pack plenty of water. The trail is accessible and passable year-round except for the coldest days in January and February; however, average winter temperatures are usually in the 40s.
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