About the Forest

Header image with three photos of the forest and the Go. Play. logo on it.

Spanning 289,000 acres, Shawnee National Forest is nestled in Southern Illinois between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. It features strikingly beautiful oak-hickory forests, flourishing wetlands, lush canyons, razorback ridges and unique geological features. A rare convergence of six natural ecological regions results in a diversity of plant and animal species. With nearly 1 million people visiting annually, the forest serves as a retreat to Americans living in urban areas; more than 30 U.S. cities are within a six hour drive.

About the Forest Service

Americans play and seek respite in our nation’s many forest. For more than a century, the Forest Service has managed national forests and grasslands. Today, we manage 193 million acres of land. Learn more about our rich history.

Traveling Forest Roads

Rural roads in the Shawnee include roads under State, County, and Forest Service jurisdiction.  County and Forest Service roads are usually unpaved and narrow. Parking along Forest Service roads is allowed but drivers should not block traffic or cause resource damage from parking on wet or soft soils.

Visit our Alerts & Notices for a list of current road closures.

Frequently asked questions.