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Monday, October 22, 2012

Ferne Clyffe Campground & State Park in Southern Illinois

Ferne Clyffe State Park
Goreville, IL

Ferne Clyffe is a picturesque woods with designated trails that wind through the well known scenic recreational area in Southern Illinois.  A recreational area that offers camping, hiking, picnicing, hunting, fishing, and sightseeing.  The scenery being especially majestic in the autumn with all of the beautiful fall colors.  Ferne Clyffe is located just 1 mile south of Goreville, Illinois and 12 miles south of Marion, Illinois. 

 Dating back to the mid to late 1800's the Cherokee reportadley used this area  for their hunting range while they were on their Trail of Tears march.   Then in 1899 the Cairo brothers purchased a part of the park known as Hawks' Cave/Rocky Hollow.   Ferne Clyffe got it's name from an old English spelling, and they called it Ferne Clyffe because of the ferns that seemed to grow in abundance in the area.  

Eventually this area that became known for it's beauty was sold to a local school teacher Emma Rebman and a local school superintendent.  They opened the park to the public on Sundays for 10-cent admission. 

In 1929, Rebman offered to sell her 140 acre park to the State of Illinois, but it wasn't until 20 years later when conservation and political groups convinced the state to purchase the park.

Southern Illinois

                   Getting our camper situated in Deer Ridge Campground.
                      A very nice well shaded campground, with beautiful scenic trail access
          just across from our campsite.

Ferne Clyffe has a campground for every type of camper: modern, primitive, youth group, backpack or equestrian.

Campgrounds include:

Deer Ridge: Well shaded Class A campground offering gravel pads with electricity, picnic tables and cooking grills.
Turkey Ridge: offers campers a serene outdoor experience.  A Class C walk-in campground.  Offering camp pads, picnic tables, cooking grills, showers, drinking water and toilets located near parking lot.
Youth Group:  Class D facility offers drinking water, picic tables, cooking grills, toilets and parking.
Backpack:  Enjoy solitude in the individual campsites in this Class C campground.  Offer cooking grills, toilets, and showers, water and trash receptacles.
Equestrian:  Horseback riders can ride directly to their own Class C Equestrian campground on the trail or drive to it in their vehicles.  Picnic tables, cooking grills, drinking water, toilets, parking, and showers.

                                                        Ferne Clyffe Blackjack Oak Trail

Ferne Clyffe Lake

This is the scenic view from Blackjack Oak Trail.

The lake is open to bank fishing, but boating and swimming are prohibited.

                              Impressive rock formations can be seen from almost all of the park trails.

                        Including the two best-known sights Hawks' Cave, a 150 foot-long shelter bluff,

                                                 and a 100-foot-tall intermittent waterfall.

It started to rain so we to cover inside this cave until the rain stopped.



                                                 Big Rocky Hollow Trail

Ferne Clyffe offers eighteen different trails for hikers to take advantage of.

  1. Rebman Trail - Easy 0.25 mile hike.
  2. Goreville Boy Scout Trail - Moderately Difficult 0.5 mile steep trail that connects the Park to the nearby town of Goreville.
  3. Hawk's Cave Trail - Easy 0.5 mile trail that leads past the largest shelter bluffs in Illinois.
  4. Big Rocky Hollow Trail - Easy hike 0.75 mile hike round trip.  The trail leads to a 100 foot tall intermittent waterfall.
  5. Waterfall Trail - Moderately difficult 0.75 mile hike that begins at Deer Ridge Campground and also leads to the waterfall.
  6. Blackjack Oak Trail - Moderately difficult 1-mile trail that offers impressive views and leads hikers up two steep climbs from the lake to the hillside picinic area.
  7. Ferne Clyffe Lake Trail - Easy 1-mile hike.
  8. Round Bluff Nature Preserve Trail - 1-mile moderately difficult trail that leads hikers past rare plants and impressive rock formations.  This a nature preserve and is restricted to the designated trail only.
  9. Happy Hollow Backpack Trail - 0.5-mile trek to the primitive backpack campground.
  10. Happy Hallow Trail - Difficult 5- mile trail that winds through woods and old fields and includes several steep climbs.
  11. Happy Hallow Horse Trail - 8-mile equestrian route accessible from the horseback campground.  Portions of the trail are shared by hikers and horseback riders.
  12. River to River Trail - 8-miles of moderately difficult terrain that cuts across Southern Illinois from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River and passes through Ferne Clyffe.
  13. Cedar Bluff Trail - Moderately difficult 2-mile hiking trail.
  14. Cedar Bluff Climber's Access Trail - Moderate 0.5-mile hike
  15. Big Buck Creek Trail - Moderate 2-mile scenic and wooded trail.
  16. Bobcat Loop Trail - Moderate 1-mile loop in the heart of Cedar Bluff.
  17. High Ridge Trail - Moderate 1.5-mile trail
  18. Bork's Waterfall Trail - Easy 0.5-mile hike with access to the base of the waterfall.

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