Hiking The High Knob Trail In Shawnee National Forest
The High Knob Trail is located in the Shawnee National Forest of Illinois.
High Knob Lookout (37.60032, -88.32809) can be found at the end of Knob Hill Lane.
To reach the trailhead you must drive through High Knob Campground. Drive past the red building and follow the road half a mile up the hill till you reach the lookout.
You do not have to stop at the office to go to the lookout. It’s a public road.
This was once the site of a fire lookout tower staffed by the CCC during the early days of the Shawnee National Forest. All that remains of the fire tower now are the old tower’s concrete footings.
There is a picnic area at the lookout offering vista views of the Karbers Ridge hills that go on for quite a while. Rumor is it’s one of the best places in the state to view the sunset.
From this location, you can access several hiking trails connecting this area to the Garden of the Gods and Pounds Hollow Recreation Area.
We just took the almost 1-mile trail surrounding the base of the cliffs labeled trail number 105. It is marked by white diamonds but can be hard to follow sometimes.
I think we might have gotten off trail once or twice, but always found our way back. That was part of the adventure though and those little side trails were great to explore.
This trail was our favorite hike during our brief time in the area.
It is packed with interesting rock formations, little caves, and cool tunnels to explore. There are plenty of opportunities for the kids to climb rocks (or the adults) and tons of nooks and crannies to discover.
While admiring the tall bluffs surrounding you be sure to keep your eyes on your feet as well. There are a lot of rocks to maneuver around on the trail and no one wants to twist an ankle.
There are also multiple rock steps that can get slippery at times.
The whole family should have a blast on this trail and its one that should not be missed if you’re already in the area visiting Garden of the Gods.