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Although Southern Illinois sports over 50 extensive hiking ventures, on this property there is a touch of the garden of gods to which developed trails along the ridge,(to keep bugs to minimun attachment on guests) brings folks along the ridge line and increases accesss to several overhangs and a break in the huge stone slabs for venturing lower levels, via a woodand path that takes a 5 to ten minute walk from the castle. The library also sports the book titled 50 Nature Hikes in Southern Illinois visitors are welcome to use during treks

Great Web page Detailing nature hikes in Southern Illinois by Dr. King - Associate Proffessor in the Life science Department at Southern Illinois Universty 

  example of information provided by DR. King

The Little Grand Canyon is probably the grandest site close to Carbondale, with a deep gorge and a beautiful overlook across the Mississippi floodplain.  The trail forms a loop of about three or four miles, with some steep climbs.  A couple rocky spots require hands as well as feet.  Good shoes are a necessity.  Pit toilets and picnic tables are available at the trail head parking lot. 

Description.  Map.

The shortest and simplest route from Carbondale begins heading west on Chautauqua (west side of SIUC campus, just north of Communications Bldg.).  At the intersection with route 127, go directly across.  Continue roughly southwest; the road has many turns--at minor intersections stay on the "main" road.  After about 3 miles this road will end at a "T" intersection.  Turn right (northwest).  Now just continue following this road until you reach Little Grand Canyon, maybe about 4 more miles.  The turnoff should be well marked, on the right (but mostly straight ahead).   This route can also be reached from the paved road between Murphysboro and Sand Ridge, and from Etherton along 127.   (Directions from Pomona)

The trail begins at the north, right-hand side of the parking lot.  This trail goes gently downhill until it reaches a clifftop, then loops sharply back left until it enters a small rocky gorge.  The trail then follows the stream bed cut into bedrock, directly down the gorge.  The footing is slippery when wet, but steps have been cut in places (the CCC worked here during the Depression) and, where you need them most, handholds carved into the rock.   When you reach the bottom, the main trail goes left (west).  To the right is a dead-end box canyon with a pool and waterfall at the upstream end.  The main trail follows the canyon downstream.  Map

Safety Note:  Watch the weather.  A classroom group was once stranded here for a few hours by a flash flood during a sudden spring thundershower.  The teacher and a couple students were swept away and rescued later.

Eventually the high cliff on the left (south) will swing away as the path reaches the flat, muddy floodplain of the Big Muddy River.  (This stretch is sometimes under water during spring floods.)  The trail hugs the low rise on the left.  When it reaches a cliff again, the trail turns up along another small stream, with the high cliff on your right side as you go upstream.   Now the trail follows upstream, going south.  Eventually you have to climb up along the stream bed.  Once again, the footing is slippery but cut steps help.  The trail now follows the left side of the stream for a short steep climb.  Then the trail crosses the stream and makes a sharp right turn along the right bank.  This turn across the stream is a bit tricky, because a false path continues upstream in the direction you had been going before the turn.  You should now be going north, opposite the way you've just come up, but now along a steep hillside above the cliff whose bottom wall you had followed a few minutes before.  The cliff is below you now on your right.   This section of the trail soon reaches an opening on a clifftop overlook, with the Mississippi bottomland spread magnificently away to the horizon.  The Big Muddy River winds directly below.  The trail continues, rather long but now easy to follow up and down along the ridgetop, back to the south side of parking lot

Previous year event -Join the Friends of R. Buckminster Fuller and the Ivas John Band for a “Vine-Maxion” Sunday, August 17th at the Orlandini Vineyard, Noon to 6 pm. The event is being sponsored by Orlandini Vineyards, Holistic Healing Arts, Advanced Energy Solutions and Town Square Market. Proceeds for the event go to “Bucky’s Bare Bones Budget Campaign”   a fundraising campaign to   support the restoration of the R. Buckminster Fuller’s Dome in Carbondale.   The cost is $3.00 per person.  Ed Van Awken will perform on electronic piano from noon to 2 and the Ivas John Band plays from 2-6pm.  Town Square Market Picnic Bags  will be available for purchase.   The Orlandini Vineyard is located is 1.3 miles south of Blue Sky Vineyard off Rocky Comfort Road at 410 Thorne Lane, Makanda.  They can be reached at 618-995-2307 or   A map to the vineyard and others on the Shawnee Hills Wine trail can be found at

  PS - past comments by previous castle guests include regards quality of Orlandini wines "Now, this is a wine that can be served in a resturant."</p>

Canoe the Cache River Wet lands

Local Illinois Landmarks in Southern Illinois (Preservation efforts even in Cobden - Illinois)

"anthill productions is home to the photography of rare images' Bob Hageman and the stained-glass work of firelight studios' Linda Austin. For well over twenty years, Linda and Bob have been making and displaying their unique artworks throughout the Midwest, and they are now for the first time making them available to a broader audience.",,,,

"Anthill productions is pleased to announce the opening of their new studio on the wine trial in southern Illinois. Anthill Gallery & Vintage Curiosities can be found at 102 N. Front Street., Cobden, IL, 62920 . The shop will be open Thursdays through Sundays, from noon to 6:00P.M.. Come visit us! "

Hedman Orchard and Vineyards - Cafe

Yellow Moon Cafe = Where java, good food and beverages along with music (4 nites) coexist

Land for Learning Institute</center><./p>
PO Box 208 Jonesboro, Il 62952
Office: 618.833.8030</center><./p>

Making Maple Syrup Program and Fundraiser</center><./p>
Experience the uniquely American art of making Maple Syrup and enjoy a delicious Pancake Breakfast! Learn how to identify Sugar Maples, tap the trees (the old fashioned way), and see an evaporator in action. Also hear the history and legends of maple syrup in Southern Illinois. All proceeds will go into our River Trip scholarship fund for local Middle School and High School students.
Please call for reservations 618-967-6876 or email
Place: Little Grassy United Methodist Camp        Time:TBA

2006 Dates: February 11 and February 25</center><./p><p><.center>



The Land for Learning Institute offers guided Canoe tours along the Cache River.</center><./p>
<p><.center>The Cache River winds through the Cache River State Natural Area and Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Staff naturalists will guide you through the unique cypress swamps found along the lower Cache River and share the cultural and natural history of the area. The cost is $60.00 per canoe (up to 3 people per canoe).  Please call for reservations 618-967-6876 or email

Trips start and end at the Lower Cache River Access on Perks Road. Time: 9:00 am- 11:30 a.m.

2006 Dates for guided trips:

March 25

April 22----Earth Day Float!

May 20

June 10

September 23

October 7----Colorfest Float!


Rock Climbing: check out  - Vertical Heartland and Climbing School
<p><.center><a href=""><.img src=""></P><.p>Vertical Heartland and Climbing School><./a><center><./p>

<p><.center><img src=""><./center></p>

<p>Caves: The Shawnee National forest has a 200 acre section of land that lays North of the Castle property which primarily protects a bat cave *** Rich's Cave whose walls are signed and dated by Daniel Boone back in 179? *** (unrestricted access only between April 30 and Sept. 1 and besides a stocked creek has a stocked pond (bass, crappies, and bluegills. Although the cave venture can be a tight fit and lengthy journey (take many batteries) one of the cave runs pops up next to the castle and other runs reportedly go on about another half a mile surface wise. It was about a two hour venture to the castle. The risk of getting lost and other mishaps are your responsibility. I remember batteries getting low. The entrance area can be enjoyable sufficient exploration for most.**** Rich's Cave has been closed year round apparently due to the Fungus issue killing bats at a 90% some ratio in the Northeast. I've read recently the zone of loss effect has started to reach into Southern Virgina. Violation of cave denotes warning of fine of $5000.00 -$100,000 </p>

<p>Sorry folks, but for those who want to go mosquito hunting you will be very much out of luck in this environment most of the time. This is not bad in most folks opinion, as it is rather nice sitting on the decks, fish pond or or back patio areas without taking to swatting yourselves so dang often. Ventures in the woods and about the bluff also note no mosquito unless one ventures down into the lowlands below. Previously I thought this situation was due to a lack of standing water but the folks who run a bed and breakfast near by have the same pleasant problem. Apparently the lack of mosquitoes is more related to the bats clearing out the local population of insects mentioned.

Bass fishing allowed at pond atop of the hill on a catch and release basis. 

Annual Southernmost Illinois Birding Blitz

April 24, 2004

Rain or shine April 24th will find group of birders scouring the
country-side from before dawn to after dark looking and listening for
Black-bellied Plovers, Snowy Egrets, Mississippi Kites, Cerulean Warblers,
and Indigo Buntings. Winning teams in past years have seen over 150 species
in 24-hours. Teams have combined every year to see almost two-thirds of the 300 bird species commonly found in the state

The Southernmost Illinois Birding Blitz is an event where teams of birders
compete with each other to see and hear the most species of birds in a
24-hour period. Teams may make observations throughout southern Illinois
North to Illinois Route 13. The area includes cypress swamps, upland
forests, grasslands, and big rivers. Public lands in the area include
Shawnee National Forest, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Cypress
Creek National Wildlife Refuge, and the Cache River State Natural Area

This is birdwatching with a purpose. The event objectives include attracting birdwatchers from around the region to southern Illinois and raising money to support habitat restoration in the Cache Watershed. Money raised by each team will be used to restore wetlands in Southern Illinois through the state's Adopt-A Swamp Program. Last year teams raised over $3,000.

For more information about the Adopt-A-Swamp program, contact the Illinois
Conservation Foundation, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 4-300, Chicago, IL 60601,
phone 312-814-7237, or visit the ICF web site at

For more information about the event contact Cypress Creek National Wildlife
Refuge, phone 618-634-2231, or visit the Birding Blitz website at

Giant City State Park

2006 Park Programs
Giant City State Park Visitors Center
235 Giant City Road
Makanda, IL   62958
for more information, call the Site Interpreter at (618)457-4836
Open daily 8AM - 4PM

All programs meet inside the Visitors Center unless otherwise noted.
Wonders of Winter Walk
Saturday, January 7
Friday, January 13
1:00PM - 2:30PM
Join the site interpreter for a leisurely walking tour.  We'll discover the many ways that plants and animals adjust to the winter cold.  This is a moderate 1-mile hike.

Winter Tree Identification Workshop
Saturday, February 18
12:00PM - 3:00PM
Giant City hosts this sixth annual winter tree identification workshop.  Learn techniques for identifying trees by their shape, bark, buds, and seeds.  We'll start indoors to master special hints for certain trees.  Then we'll venture outside to practice our newly learned techniques, so dress warmly.  Reservations are required for this workshop, call soon 618-457-4836.

Spring Woodland Wildflower Preview - A Slide Show
Saturday, March 4
10:00AM - 11:00AM
This indoor slide program will preview the most spectacular flowers of spring for southern Illinois.  Flowers will be shown in the order that they appear in the woods.  Come explore the diversity of flowers in spring without leaving your seat.

Giant City's Stonefort
Saturday, March 25
10:00AM - 11:00AM
Let's investigate why the Late Woodland period Native Americans would build a nearly 300 foot long wall on a cliff in the forest 1,000 years ago.  This is a rugged 1/3-mile hike.

Wandering Among the Woodland Wildflowers
Saturdays -
 April 1, 8, 22, 29
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Wildflower walks are one of Giant City's most popular draws.  Join the site interpreter for a rugged two hour discovery tour on a woodland trail.  Most hikes are held on Trillium Trail, best known for its wildflower diversity.  Some weekends we'll discover up to 30 bloomers.  A park wildflower checklist arranged by month of bloom will be provided.  Plenty of time is allowed for photography.  Repeat visitors are welcome as new flowers bloom each week!  These are rugged 2-mile hikes.

Mother's Weekend Discovery Hike
Saturday, May 13
10:00AM - 11:30AM
Mothers and others will enjoy this moderate, one-mile trek through forest and bluffs.  We'll look for evidence of wildlife mothers as we immerse ourselves in the newness of spring.

Memorial Day Weekend Hike
Saturday, May 27
10:00AM - 11:30AM
The geology, nature, and history of Giant City will be highlighted on this holiday weekend hike.  An hour and a half of exploration is never enough! This is a moderate 1-mile hike.

Civilian Conservation Corps Annual Reunion Potluck
Saturday, June 10
This annual reunion potluck is held at Giant City State Park's Shelter #3. 

Labor Day Weekend Hike
Saturday, September 2
10:00AM - 11:30AM
It won't be anything like labor as we enjoy the almost autumn woodlands of Giant City.  Magnificent oaks and hickories beside gargantuan sandstone cliffs covered in colorful lichens and mosses.  We'll explore until we run out of time.  Come on!
This is a moderate 1-mile hike.
Giant City's Stonefort
Saturday, September 9
10:00AM - 11:00AM
Let's investigate why the Late Woodland period Native Americans would build a nearly 300 foot long wall on a cliff in the forest 1,000 years ago.  This is a rugged 1/3-mile hike.
Leaf, Bark, and Seed Hikes
Saturdays -
October 7, 14, 28
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Come meet the trees of the forest.   Discover why leaves change color in the fall.  Learn the ways we identify trees as their leaves disappear.  You will never look at a tree the same way again after this enlightening look at some of our favorites at Giant City.  These hikes alternate between moderate 1-milers and rugged 2-milers.  Please call for more information.
Wonders of Winter Walks
Saturdays -
November 11 & December 9
1:00PM - 2:30PM
Join the site interpreter for a leisurely walking tour.  We'll discover the many ways that plants and animals adjust to the winter cold.  This is a moderate 1-mile hike.





Pamoma Natural Bridge
<p><.center>Horse Back Riding</p><.center>
Honey Bee Stables</p><./center>

<p><.center>Phone: 618 949-3791 or *866) 290-0194</center><./p>
Location: 3 miles off Hwy 146 in Dixon Springs, IL. Halfway between Vienna & Golconda.</p><./center>
<p><.center> <a href="">Honey Bee Stables website<./a><center><./p>

<p><.center><a href=""><.img src=""></p><.P>4575 East Viennna St. - Anna, Illinois - MEMORY LANE ANTIQUE COLLECTIBLES</a> <./p></center>


Arts and Crafts Colony - Makanda, IL