Hiking in the Shawnee National Forest

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We drove down to the Shawnee National Forest last weekend to explore some new locations.We’ve been exploring the forest there for a few years now. It’s only about 3 hours south. (You can read about camping at Lake Glendale and Dixon Springs.)

The Shawnee National Forest is our favorite escape. There’s so much to see and do. On this trip we focused on Giant City Nature Trail and the Pomona Natural Bridge.

Our first stop was the Giant City Nature Trail. The trail was an easy hike and only about a mile long. It took us through these amazing rock formations that seemed to be carved by giants. There are walkways that pass through the formations, small cave-like spots, and tall bluffs. I thoroughly enjoyed Giant City. My favorite part was the carving on all the rocks in one area. Many of them are in the most beautiful writing and dated mid to late 19th century. The face was a nice surprise, too.

Our next stop was the Pomona Natural Bridge. It was only about 30 minutes away from Giant City. We had no idea what to expect. We seen natural bridge formations before. This one did not disappoint.

The trail was short but descended quickly. By this time it was pretty warm and humid. It’s a very lush area with lots of moss and vines. The trails were clear but not heavily used like some places we’ve been. We only saw a few other people and were left alone to explore. We could have followed the trail further on but decided to make it a quick stop. We had one more place to go.

Our last stop before lunch and driving home was Little Grand Canyon.

We chose to take the overlook trail thinking it would be the most bang for our time. The hike as steep from the start and we had concerns about how we would feel hiking back up in the heat. By this time we were getting hot and sticky. We’d heard and read so many great things about the place. There is no longer an overlook. It’s grown over with trees and you can’t see much of anything. Leaning over the edge you get a sense of how far the drop is. We stopped about half way to the bottom after we realized it would be a long hike back up and no view as a reward. We did see a blue skink and a lot of theĀ Eastern fence lizard that run around the area. I would scratch Little Grand Canyon off your list.

I’m sure we’ll get out and visit a few more areas before the end of the season.

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