Welcome to Bell Smith Springs/
In The Shawnee National Forest
It is a beautiful wildlife area, that leads down to a natural pond of water, that our community use as a swimming hole, as you can see from the sign above it will take you to what we know as the Devil’s Backbone, a Natural Stone Arch that is the largest in Southern Illinois, an Boulder Falls.
The area is surrounded by Sandstone Cliffs, with water way’s crossing paths that you sometimes have to hike through (so wear appropriate clothing and shoes), You will see the level of the hike by the Stairs you have to walk down at the beginning of your descent to the Canyon, They prove to be for the physically fit only, walking down is not the hard part, it is the walking backup that counts.
The trails include: The General Trail, Sentry Bluff Trail, Mill Branch Trail, Natural Bridge Trail and is 8 miles altogether,
You will have to take caution with these trail, especially if you have children, due to the high cliff’s, and wet rock’s, it can be a slippery slope to travel, caution can not be said enough, but with that being said it is well worth the hike or even a couple of day’s in the camping area. (Find info below)
The forest is beautiful, and full of life with the lush green of the trees, the foliage an wildflowers, unique to our area.
The wild life is abundant as well, such as the white tailed deer, many varieties of bird’s, foxes, and bobcats,(which you might take note of and watch around) other things you want to take into account is you are in the woods and we have several different species of snakes, including rattlesnakes.
I am terrified of snakes of any kind but I love to roam these hills, and I know they are everywhere, just try to keep my mind off of that fact, and enjoy the rest of the site.
This area is constantly changing, with the abundance of water, the weather during spring and winter (with the snow falls) , and the nature of the land, let me show you with a video of the terrain you will encounter.
There is a camping site here, it is purely nature at its best, no electricity an only drinking water on site. It has 21 spaces, for camping an no reservations can be made ,if you get here first then you get a site Small pop up campers are allowed, but nothing much bigger could fit.
Price is 10.00 dollars a day
For more information you can contact
Hidden Springs Ranger district
Campground Concessionaire – Nick Randolph
Nearest Town and Medical Facility
The nearest town is Eddyville Il and is a very small town. The closest medical facility Harrisburg Medical Center in Harrisburg Illinois 62946 would be at least 30 minutes away.
It is highly recommend (as in all cases when you go hiking)
That you carry a backpack with, water, some snacks, and a first aid kit. You have to remember you are out in pretty much the middle of nowhere, and if something did occur, it would take time for help to reach you, depending where you are on the trails, how long before they got there. So these things are necessities.
And I ask please remember anything you bring in you take out, we want you to enjoy this area, but are asking you respect it, as well as us, this is our home we would not walk into your and leave it a mess, or destroy what you have. So please treat it as you would your own.
From the Author Vicki Cantrell
If you have any Questions or Comments please leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you have visited our area let us know what you think.