Next time your pup is craving some time in Mother Nature, check out Rim Rock Trail. Tucked away in the beautiful Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, this trail will transport your pooch into a world of lush vegetation and fantastical rock formations.
As you may have guessed from the name, the trail travels along the rim of a large rock escarpment. The beginning of the hike sets off down a stone path through a forest of trees. As your pup trots along, they can sniff for little critters or hunt for the perfect stick. Interpretive signs also give you insight into the area’s history. About half way around the loop, you’ll come to a mysterious set of stairs. You can either keep on the main trail and loop back to the parking lot, or descend the staircase and see what’s waiting around the next corner…
Once you make it to the bottom of the stairs, you’ll be in Fat Man’s Misery, or a narrow passage through tall rock walls. Follow the trail past the remnants of an ancient Native American stone wall until you reach Ox-lot Cave. This large cavern was used by 19th century loggers to house livestock. Take a minute to snoop around and revel in the cool air before continuing your journey on the Lower Trail. It’s a bit more difficult than the main trail, but the puptastic scenery makes the extra effort worth it. Be prepared for a couple inclines and some more stairs. This route will add .7 miles to your hike.
Restrooms and parking are available at the trailhead. When you are finished with your hike, grab one of the picnic tables at the trailhead and sit down for snack and a much earned rest. Don’t forget to bring a biscuit or two for your four legged hiking buddy!