Southern Illinois' Tunnel Hill State Trail
The Tunnel Hill State Trail is a extremely pleasant 55-mile long rail-trail in southern Illinois. The trail runs from the Barkhausen-Cache River Wetlands Center to Eldorado. The highlight of the trail is a 543-foot tunnel near the town of Tunnel Hill. The tunnel is very dark so flashlights are recommended. There are also several trestles along the route. A large portion of the trail runs through the Shawnee National Forest and the trail is shaded by a tall tree canopy.
There are several trailheads along the route with restroom facilities and water. The trail is crushed gravel so bring your hybrids, gravel or mountain bikes to ride this path. The first day we rode north from Vienna out and back for 17 miles which included the tunnel and several trestles. This part of the trail was scenic and very peaceful. At the 17-mile mark there was a nice little restway to stop and take a break. The second day we rode from Vienna south to the Barkhausen-Cache River Wetlands Center. The ride south was also enjoyable although I think the northern part of the trail was more scenic.
Garden of the Gods
And as long as you are in the area, be sure to visit Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee National Forest. I couldn't believe this park and these rock formations were in southern Illinois! It was absolutely beautiful!