Rock Climbing in Southern Illinois


Interested in rock climbing or bouldering somewhere close to home? Pope County has some of the most scalable cliffs in Southern Illinois. Shawnee National Forest offers over 60 different climbing areas in Jackson falls alone and delights thrill seekers with spectacular views of pristine wilderness while providing a variety of climbing options for new and advanced climbers alike. These climbing areas provide so many other options as well. Go hiking or relax and enjoy the creek that flows through the area.

Permanent anchors dot this area of Shawnee National Forest as most of the routes available are sport climbing routes. Climbers will find slopers, pockets of various sizes, roofs, and slabs that make each climbing experience new and unique. Bring a group and make a weekend of scaling these sandstone cliffs. There are also a variety of climbing areas in various state parks that sprawl the area like Dixon Springs State Park which offers a variety of bouldering experiences.

After a long day of climbing, take in some of the unique Southern Illinois culture with live music, wonderful hometown restaurants, and some of the various festivals offered throughout the year. Or, rent a cabin or campground and enjoy a warm fire and stories from the day’s activities underneath a canopy of stars.



Jackson Falls Wilderness Area
Explore over 500 different climbing routes and over 60 routes for bouldering in the 40+ different climbing areas in Jackson Falls alone. Permanent anchors make sport climbing easy and accessible. This climbing area can accommodate large groups and is perfect for any climbing or bouldering enthusiast whether a beginner or advanced.