Hike the Round Bluff Nature Preserve



1.25 miles

Elevation Gain

185 ft

Route Type


Added by Lucas Bremer

This area is a scenic mix of unique geological features and unusual plant communities.​

Just south of the Lakeview Picnic Shelter is the 53-acre Round Bluff Nature Preserve. Round Bluff has been designated a nature preserve which means that you are only allowed to hike on maintained trails. This is an isolated area of the massive sandstones that form the canyons of Ferne Clyffe State Park. It stands like an island, separated from the principal bluffs of the park and contains an diverse grouping of plants not found elsewhere in Southern Illinois.  Sandstone glades along the south side of the bluff supports prickly pear cactus, and other rare plants and animals. 

The hike begins in the forested area near the lake within the state park. From there, the path travels up and through outcroppings and spires of sandstone. Depending on what time of year you visit the area is lush green or fall colored gold and orange. In the winter, it is much easier to see all the delicate and intricate shapes that wind and water have carved into the sandstone cliffs. The trail will then reveal multiple stair cases along the box canyons traveling the Round Bluff area.

Once back at the trail head, a large picnic shelter and out houses are available next to the lake. 

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Know for

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area



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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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