A week ago today, our younger son Jeremy and I decided to take a “day off” and hike a couple of trails in the Shawnee National Forest near Murphysboro, IL, in the far southern portion of the state, about 80 or 90 miles or so from where we live. In the morning, we saw the Little Grand Canyon.
The 3.6 mile Little Grand Canyon Trail, which can take 3-4 hours to complete, offers a 365 foot climb from the canyon floor and a panoramic view of the Big Muddy River and the Mississippi floodplain. It starts off as an easy-going path that gives hikers a sweeping view of the Mississippi and Big Muddy rivers on the far western horizon. From here, visitors can choose to turn back toward the parking lot or to continue along the rugged trail down into the canyon itself, which we did, following the white diamond trail markers to the open north end of the canyon, up a natural stone staircase carved out by water, and then steeply back up to the parking lot.
For more information about the Canyon and the trail, you can check these websites: