Little Grand Canyon Trail

Jackson County, Illinois

Elevation Gain2,170ft
Trailhead Elevation733ft
Elevation Min/Max352/733ft
Elevation Start/End733/733ft

Little Grand Canyon Trail

Little Grand Canyon Trail is a hiking trail in Jackson County, Illinois. It is three miles long and begins at 733 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,170 feet. The Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower (elevation 725 feet) tower is near the trailhead.

Little Grand Canyon Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Hikes Near St. Louis (Falcon Guides)
JD Tanner
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"This loop hike in the Shawnee National F orest features exposed bluffs, an erosion- carved canyon, a seasonal w aterfall, and several rock overhangs, making it one of the most interesting areas in the entire region. The parking area offers several picnic sites and an outhouse for visitors looking to enjoy a longer stay."
60 Hikes within 60 Miles: St. Louis (Menasha Ridge Press)
Steve Henry
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"Little Grand Canyon is a little-known hideaway that’s worth the drive from St. Louis. You’ll hike down stone steps cut in steep, fantastically eroded slick-rock chutes into a moist bottomland guarded by 300-foot cliffs. Your reward for climbing out of the canyon’s depths is a panoramic view of the Mississippi River valley and the distant Missouri hills."
Best Hikes St. Louis (Falcon Guides)
JD Tanner and Emily Ressler-Tanner
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"The Little Grand Canyon National Natural Landmark is a small but dramatic part of the 280,000-acre Shawnee National Forest. Located in Jackson County, Illinois, the deep box canyon has been slowly eroding over time and now boasts exposed, majestic bluffs. Visitors to the Little Grand Canyon area will witness typical southern Illinois landscapes. Rich oak and hickory forests tower above sycamore and beech trees. Just south of the Little Grand Canyon is a place known as Snake Road. Each year the road is closed to accommodate several species of snakes, including timber rattlesnakes, western cottonmouths, and the endangered green water snake, as they migrate to and from their winter hibernation spots, which include the Little Grand Canyon."

Little Grand Canyon Trail Trip Reports

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Excellent work out. Well blazed. Really enjoyed it.
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Great trail. Unable to get into the canyon from one entrance due to the rains flooding part of the canyon. Moderate to difficult in parts, but well worth the trek.
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Little Grand Canyon Trail Photos

Trail Information

Jackson County
Nearby City
Skill Level
Shawnee National Forest, 50 Highway 145 South, Harrisburg, IL 62946; (618) 253-7114;
Local Contacts
USGS Gorham
Local Maps

Trail Log