@Dad_Aint_HipI'm going there for the weekend of Oct 10th, and then for around 10 days starting Nov 5th to do a River to River trail thru hike. But to answer your question, if I'm going for just a few days, I tend to gravitate toward the Garden of the Gods,Rim Rock/Pounds Hollow, or the Lusk Creek area. The Garden of the Gods area is the most "touristy", but unless the weather is perfect it isn't crowded. There are a lot of old forest service roads that have been turned to trails, so loops are pretty easy to make if you want to do some day hiking. If you're interested in waterfalls, most of them are pretty dependent upon recent rain, so they're hit and miss. There are some arches and great rock formations too. Here's a great interactive map of pretty much everything:https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?fbclid=IwAR0V9V4feNqsyLSRgmRu3Z1so-Leu6p-iIO6wdFaZ0qSZxhvmuk-Tl... 

There's also this:https://www.hikingwithshawn.com/longer-southern-illinois-trails-shawnee-national-forest/?fbclid=IwAR... 

And a link to the Forest Service page, to check for closures, etc.: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/shawnee/home 

With most of the leaves gone, it's a great time to see things. If you have questions, just ask! Enjoy!

 

 

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