Attractions (8)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 06:36

Shawnee Hills Wine Trail

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Raise Your Glass to a Great Time in Southern Illinois!
Murphysboro is the perfect base of operations to explore Southern Illinois's growing wine area. Start your morning with a hearty country breakfast then browse the antique stores downtown before heading off to the many vineyards along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, located just a few miles down scenic Highway 127.
Visitors can stop at any number of tasting rooms to sample award-winning wines and browse the gift shops, many of which feature work by local artists. For shopping enthusiasts, other unique shops and artist studios can be found along the way or indulge in some fruit cobbler right at the orchard! At the end of the day, return to Murphysboro to enjoy one of our many fine restaurants and accommodations.
Many of the wineries regularly offer music and entertainment on weekends, as well as offering facilities for that special private event. For music and entertainment schedules, directions, or information on event facilities, check the website for individual vineyards below or go to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail website.
Alto Vineyards
PO Box 51, Hwy 127
Alto Pass, IL 62905

Blue Sky Vineyard
3150 S. Rocky Comfort Road
Makanda, IL 62958

Cellars de Santom

2709 Lone Oak Road
Ava, IL 62907
Hedman Vineyard & Orchard
560 Alto Pass, IL 62905

Kite Hill Vineyard B&B
119 Kite Hill Road
Murphysboro, IL 62966

Monte Alegre Vineyard

4473 Ponce Trail
Carbondale, IL 62901

Owl Creek Winery
2655 Water Valley Road
Cobden, IL 62920

2865 Hickory Ridge Road
Pomona, IL 62975

Starview Winery
5100 Winghill Road
Cobden, IL 62920
618.893.WINE (9463)

Von Jakob Vineyards, Ltd.
1309 Sadler Road
Pomona, IL 62975
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 06:33

Little Grand Canyon

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Over time, erosion has carved this deep box canyon exposing its majestic bluffs. Below thrives a cool and lush bottomland habitat upon the canyon floor. Along the upper portions of the trail, visitors encounter expansive views of eth colorful cliffs, the Big Muddy River, and the Mississippi floodplain. The canyon floor showcases seasonal waterfalls, large sandstone overhangs, and towering beech and sycamore trees.

Wildlife Viewing
Known for its plant and animal diversity, this area also provides a haven for many neotropical migratory songbirds during the Spring and Fall. Year-round residents include raccoon, mink, fox, deer, and bobcat along with several birds, amphibians and reptiles. The rock ledges serve as snake dens for the copperhead, cottonmouth, and timber rattler, along with a few nonpoisonous species. From the scenic overlooks turkey vultures and hawks are often seen, soaring over the treetops.
Trail Specifications
Length: 3.6 Miles
Travel Time: 2.5 to 3 hours
Surface Type: Asphalt and Dirt
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult; Contains slopes up to 80%
Recommended Seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall
Facilities: Parking, accessible rest rooms, picnic area with grills, and interpretive signs.

Flash floods occur in the canyon, be aware of developing weather conditions. Extra caution should be used where the trail is near the bluffs at the entrances into the canyon and when traveling on wet, slippery rocks. Be aware of hunting seasons. Poison ivy, dead snags and poisonous snakes are present in the canyon.

Trail Markings: White Diamond
Trail Ethics: Pack it in, Pack it out. Say on designated trail and leave the beauty of the rocks, plants, and animals for others to enjoy.

Driving Directions
From Murphysboro take State Highway 127 south 6 miles to Etherton road; then west 5 miles.
From Alto Pass go north 7 miles on State Highway 127 to Etherton road; then west 5 miles.
From the ranger station take 20th Street south 1.5 miles to Hickory Ridge Road; then south 7 miles to the site. Look for directional signs along the way.
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 06:29

Lake Murphysboro

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Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Lake Murphysboro State Park
52 Cinder Hill Drive
Murphysboro, IL 62966
fax 618.687.1220
Rolling hills and woods surround star-shaped Lake Murphysboro, providing a stunning backdrop for boating, fishing, picnicking, camping and hiking. Located in Jackson County, about a mile west of Murphysboro off Route 149, the 1,022-acre park is the perfect place to enjoy the peace and beauty of nature's best.

Built in 1950 by the Division of Fisheries, the 145-acre lake is a tributary of Indian Creek and has a watershed of approximately 4,500 acres. The maximum water depth is 36 feet, and the lake's 7.5-mile shoreline is made up of rolling hills covered with a wide variety of trees. A 600-foot dam is located at the south end of the park. A smaller lake, called Little Lake is located just too the north of Lake Murphysboro.

Recreational Activities

Shaded picnic areas may be found in convenient locations around the lake. For larger groups there are two shelter houses, one with drinking water and playground equipment. Parking areas are available at both shelters. Handicapped-accessible toilet facilities are located in the concession area and in the Big Oak and Shady Rest camping areas. A concession stand near the boat docks offers a variety of supplies and refreshments.

Fishing & Boating
Soon after its completion, Lake Murphysboro was stocked with breeder- and yearling-size largemouth bass. In the fall of 1951, red ear sunfish were introduced, followed by bluegill the next spring. Channel catfish are also frequently stocked. To keep the fish population at good levels submerged vegetation and water draw-downs are used to keep the number of small panfish down. No matter what form of fishing you prefer, you will appreciate the variety of fish available; largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, channel catfish, red ear and crappie
The gentle hills and shady shores make Lake Murphysboro ideal for bank fishing. A fishing pier with facilities for the handicapped is available for anglers. Boaters can bring their own boats or rent one near the boat launch and docks. The outboard motor limit is 10 hp.

Bank and boat fishing are also available on the smaller lake, but no motorboats are allowed.

Well-equipped campsites located in scenic areas of the park provide the perfect opportunity to extend your stay at Lake Murphysboro. Campers who want to truly experience nature will appreciate the 20 tent sites. Those who love nature, but like the comforts of home will prefer the 54 trailer sites that are equipped with electricity. A sanitary disposal station is located near the trailer area.

All campers must obtain a permit from the site superintendent.

A three-mile designated trail offers hikers the opportunity to enjoy the plant, animal and bird life of the park up close. For those who prefer to explore nature on their own, hundreds of paths crisscross through the hills and woods of the park.
The wooded hills include groves of majestic oak and hickory trees, as well as most other types of trees. Patches of native, wild orchids may be found in the wooded areas of the park. Yellow Lady's Slipper, Showy, Purple Fringeless, Twayblade, Puttyroot, Coralroot and Ladies' Tresses are just some of the varieties to watch for. The variety of orchids makes it possible to find blooming plants throughout the year.

An archery range is located in the northeast section of the park.
Archeological evidence for both the Old Woodland and Paleolithic Native American cultures has been uncovered in the park. The Paleo people lived in small, temporary camps and were known as big game hunters. The Woodland culture left more evidence, since it was agricultural and is known for large settlements. By the early 1800s, no Native American settlement remained in the immediate area.

When Illinois was admitted to the Union in 1818, the Federal Government gave Illinois three saline lands. One of them, located less then a mile southwest of the park, was leased to Dr. Conrad Will, who served in both the Illinois House and Senate in the early days of statehood. Dr. Will operated a salt works at the site, and the town of Brownsville grew up around it. The saltworks closed in 1840, and all that remains of the town is a cemetery.

Although the State of Illinois did not purchase the land that would become Lake Murphysboro State Park until 1948, interest in the area as a public recreational park began in the 1930s. Originally developed by the State's Division of Fisheries, Lake Murphysboro State Park was transferred to the Division of Parks and Memorials in 1955. Today, the park is maintained by the Department of Conservation.
Monday, 22 April 2013 12:16

Kinkaid Lake

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For more details,
contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at:
Lake Murphysboro State Park
52 Cinder Hill Drive
Murphysboro, IL 62966
fax 618.687.1220
Located in southwestern Illinois' Jackson County, Kinkaid Lake is approximately 5 miles northwest of Murphysboro and 100 miles southeast of St. Louis. Built in 1968, the lake encompasses 2,750 acres. The ownership of the surrounding land is divided among the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which manages approximately 4,000 acres; the U.S. Forest Service, which administers 5,000 acres; and Kinkaid-Reed's Creek Conservancy District, which oversees 300 acres.

Topography varies from sandstone bluff formations to rolling hills surrounding the lake where oaks and hickories predominate. Numerous flat contours are planted with prairie grasses, cool-season grasses and wildlife food plots.
Four boat ramps are available to the public with a full-service marina available. No horsepower restrictions apply, although numerous no-wake areas exist on the lake.

Facilities & Picnicking
Picnic tables, shelters, charcoal grills and restroom facilities are provided at Johnson Creek Recreation Area and Paul Ice Recreation Area, which also has playground equipment.
Camping is permitted by the US Forest Service and Kinkaid-Reed's Creek Conservancy District, and at Johnson Creek Recreation Area at Kinkaid Village Marina. Camping is not allowed on DNR property.
The lake offers fishing for largemouth bas, bluegill, crappie, catfish, walleye, and muskie.
Statewide regulations govern hunting at the site. Species available are deer, turkey, squirrel, quail, rabbit, dove, and waterfowl.
Monday, 22 April 2013 10:23

Local Fishing Report

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We are working with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to bring you a local fishing report which is updated frequently. Please bookmark this page and check back for the most recent information.



Temperature: 90 & clear
Muskie: To hot to fish for Muskie
Crappie: Fish deep, 12 - 18 feet.
Bass: Slow, early morning is best.
Blue Gill: 5 - 6 feet deep around structure or docks
Catfish: Feeding in the evening.
Walleye: Deep, 20 - 30 feet.
Smallmouth Try around riprap, most are small
White Bass: Slow, some being caught deep on deep diver baits
Fishing's best early morning or late day. Mid day fish a little deeper & slow down the presentation.
Come visit us for a weekend or all week. Besides the terrific lakes we have a wine trail, musiums, site seeing, hiking, camping, & great people to meet!
Contact: Top Of The Hill Bait 618-684-2923
Monday, 22 April 2013 10:05

Local Attractions

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Whether you enjoy the natural beauty of the outdoors, or prefer to reseach civil war history, Murphysboro has something for you to do. Located adjacent to the Shawnee National Forest, Murphysboro has many natural wonders such as the Pomona Natural Bridge and the Little Grand Canyon. Lake Kinkaid and Lake Murphysboro offer wonderful fishing and boating opportunities. The Shawnee Hills wine trail offers a tour through the beautiful landscape of Southern Illinois while tasting the great wines of the region which rival those from California. Civil War and History buffs will no doubt enjoy a visit to the General John A. Logan Museum.

Monday, 22 April 2013 08:36

Shawnee National Forest

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The living beauty of the Shawnee National Forest spreads to the west and south of Murphysboro, with many points of interest only miles away. The forest is topographically diverse, covering 1/4 million richly wooded acres full of natural formations including lakes, ponds, rivers, rock formations, caves, hills and bluffs.

Other natural wonders are nearby. As the Big Muddy River winds its way to the Mississippi, it loops around the
Little Grand Canyon National Recreational Trail, where steps carved in stone lead visitors down into a ruggedly scenic valley where ferns and other rare plants grow.

Oakwood Bottoms and Turkey Bayou offer glimpses of a forgotten natural landscape. Remote wilderness and wetlands access gives visitors a close up look at wild animal and plant life through walking trails and scenic overlooks.

Pomona Natural Bridge is a natural stone formation located only 10 miles south of Murphysboro. The unique sandstone arch was carved by water over thousands of years.

Other notable sites within convenient driving or bicycling distance include
Cedar Lake, Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge, Giant City State Park or the spectacular stone bluffs of Pine Hill.

These habitats are rich in wildlife of all varieties. Scheduled hunting seasons are available for deer, goose, pheasant, quail, rabbit, squirrel and turkey.

Monday, 22 April 2013 07:48

Pomona Natural Bridge

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This fascinating stone arch, often referred to as a natural bridge, was formed by the forces of erosion over millions of years. This formation and other rock outcrops in the area consist of sandstone, a fairly soft, erodible bedrock. Water exerted its most powerful effect here, gradually washing away softer, less resistant sandstone leaving a natural rock bridge, spanning 90 feet.

Trail Highlights
Short loop trails lead through a mature oak-hickory and beech forest. As the trail descends to the creek bottom an overlook reveals a view of the natural bridge from above. There is a great photo spot at the base of the rock bridge where a semicircle of trees and rock outcroppings serve as a beautiful backdrop for this natural wonder.

Trail Specifications
Length: 1/3 Mile
Travel Time: 1 Hour
Surface Type: Dirt
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate; Contains slopes up to 40%
Recommended Seasons: Spring, summer, and fall
Facilities: Parking, accessible restrooms & accessible picnic area (with grills).
Trail Ethics: Pack it in, Pack it out. Stay on designated trail and leave the beauty of the rocks, plants, and animals for others to enjoy.
Directions: From Murphysboro take highway 127 south 9 miles to Pomona Road; then west 3 miles. From Alto Pass go north 4 miles on State Highway 127 to Pomona Road; then west 3 miles.