Shawnee National Forest

Average Rating - This road has been rated by 4 visitors

State: Illinois
Date Submitted: October 1, 2002
Submitted by: Jim Maruska
Motorcycle Road Length: 100 Miles

Written Directions

You can start off in Carbondale Illinois, home of Southern Illinois University, home of the Salukis. Drive South down Highway 51. About 10 miles south make a side trip to Giant City State Park and take the Giant City hike through giant monolith slabs of limestone and limestone bluffs. The Giant City Lodge has some of the best Chicken Dinners on Sunday you will find anywhere. Go back to 51 and head south a few miles to the Cobden turnoff. Turn right to Alto Pass and Highway 127. Visit Bald Knob and the Bald Knob Cross. This is a very large cross on top of a large hill among the Illinois Ozarks. The view is outstanding. Head South on 127 after Alto Pass and go about 12 miles to Jonesboro. Take a left (east) on Highway 146 through Anna and Vienna past I-24 to highway 147. Follow this through Eddyville, the highway turns into highway 145. When you get to the 145/34 junction, go right or west through Herod. Past Herod there will be a junction in the road toward Karbers Ridge, take this and follow the signs to the Garden of the Gods. After visiting the high face shaped cliffs and watching the locals repel off the rocks, follow the road to Highway 1. Go South on 1 until you hit Cave-in-Rock and visit the Cave that robbed many ships. After your visit, go back north a few miles on 1 to pick up 146 heading west. Follow 146 through Golconda then take the road south along the Ohio River toward Brookport. There are many marina along the river here. Once in Brookport follow 45 to Metropolis and the Superman Museum. Try you hand at Black Jack or slots on Harrah's River Boat Casino. You can also visit Paducah, Kentucky by crossing the bride on I-24. There are full shopping amenities and restaurants as well as hotels and motels there. Follow 45 out of Metropolis to 169. Turn left or west on to 169 and take this through Karnak to highway 37. Now go north on 37 to Marion. At Marion take highway 13 west back to Carbondale.


This area is called the Illinois Ozarks located in the very Southern Part of Illinois between the Mississippi River and Missouri on the West and the Ohio River and Kentucky on the East. The area is very hilly with numerous lakes, bluffs, cypress swamps and caves. There are unlimited scenic views of the area from the hills and cliff tops.

Road Quality  

The roads are hilly and have a lot of twists and turns. Watch for waterfalls along the roadside in the spring. There are stretches where little amenities are available. If going off into a canyon or wilderness area, be sure you have plenty of gas and drinking water.

Roadside Amenities  

There are so many places to stop along that way that this scenic drive could take days. You can visit a large cave on the Ohio River where pirates once hid to rob the boats going down the river. Metropolis is the home of Superman and has the Superman museum and a large Superman on the town water tower. Metropolis is also the home of the Harrah's Casino River Boat visited by those in Southern Illinois and from across the Ohio River in Kentucky and the Mississippi in Missouri. The Garden of the Gods is one not to be missed, here are large bluffs where the locals repel. The views are spectacular and you can see into five states.

Additional Info

- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather .

Nickname (optional) Jim Maruska



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Reviewed by Guest on May 23, 2009
(3 out of 3 members found this review useful.)
Creator: Deb E
motorcycle_year: 2007
motorcycle_make: Honda
motorcycle_type: Other
Comment: I love this route and you can find a waterfall off us45. Its called Burden Falls. And there is another one just off I57 at the Goreville exit. Just ask the locals they know where they are.
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Reviewed by Guest on March 3, 2010
(1 out of 1 members found this review useful.)
Creator: DBT
motorcycle_year: 1984
motorcycle_make: Honda
motorcycle_type: Sport-Touring
Comment: Deer have become VERY plentiful in this area, be extremely careful in the early morning or evening. Going slow really helps avoid them. My cousin was severely injured while evading a deer. Please be extra careful, they are everywhere. I miss Southern Illinois every day I'm away.
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Reviewed by Guest on July 20, 2008
(1 out of 2 members found this review useful.)
Creator: Rick
motorcycle_year: 2007
motorcycle_make: Honda
motorcycle_type: Cruiser
Comment: As a "local"....I would like to let everyone know that we RAPPELL.....not ropes....Jim's's beautiful here in SoIL....especially in the fall!
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Reviewed by Guest on July 29, 2009
(0 out of 0 members found this review useful.)
Creator: Kenneth Lane
motorcycle_year: 1997
motorcycle_make: Harley-Davidson
motorcycle_type: Cruiser
Comment: Friendly people along a most interesting route! The roads are perfect for putting and the wineries were an unexpected joy. We all had a relaxed and exciting experience. That Illinois is also a free state--helmet optional, is wonderful too!
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