Little Grand Canyon


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.

Safety: 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.