Ferne Clyffe, Illinois (IL)


Ferne Clyffe, Illinois
United States
37° 31' 46.2" N, 88° 58' 58.08" W

In 1899 Miss Emma Rebman charged 10 cents admission to enter Ferne Clyffe State Park.  Ferne Clyffe soon became a popular attraction, and local entrepreneurs began to provide transportation from the Goreville train depot for an additional 10 cents.  Now it is free for climbers to come in and experience the sandstone at its best.  Impressive rock formations can be seen from almost all of the park trails and climbing and bouldering is restricted to only one bluff and the boulders directly adjacent.  Other bluffs are closed to protect endangered flora. There should be NO bolts in Ferne Clyffe at all. 

Climbing Routes

The Cave- V0-V4  The formation of the huge boulders make a cave like structure that is ideal for simple bouldering.  
  • Goodfellas- V4 This rock is a little trickier than it looks. The crack routes are the way to go!
  • Scarface- V3 Take it easy on the cracks and watch your landing, lots of roots are on the ground.
The Boulders- V0-V9
  • Standard Topout- V1 Climbers call this sector spooky.  It is a fun route with a tricky top-out.
  • Traverse- V4 This is a great route for you muscle junkies out there. Gets your blood pumping and your biceps bulging.
  • Bass Assassin- V9 Make this climb and take a look at some amazing scenery.
  • Indigo Flow- V4 A low crux with an easy top out that is great for night climbers.
  • Smitty’s House- V6 Watch out for the huge first move!
  • Turkey Day- V3 The back side keeps this boulder exciting.  Make it interesting and climb down tree instead.
  • Constellation-  V2
  • Kendall’s Sand Castle- V4
  • Desperado- V9 There is not a lot of information about this one, but if it is a V9, get out there and conquer it.
The Bluff-  5.4-5.12 V2 V3
  • First Born- 5.10 Be ready for a fun and exciting route with a great underlying crack and slabs of smooth rock to climb out on. (Traditional)
  • Miles From Nowhere- 5.7  You will feel miles from nowhere dangling off of this beautiful bluff with lots of iron flake.  This climb is great for beginners. (Traditional)
  • The Gift- 5.10 V2  Whether you decide to top rope it or go for the pads, this short climb stays wet in the spring to keep it exciting. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Cracked Heart- 5.7 It’s time to work on that footwork!  Huge cracks leave the possibility for all sorts of fun. (Traditional)
  • Jennifer Goes to Hollywood- 5.11  This is an advanced route with lots of consistency and blood pumping twists and turns.  (Traditional)
  • Divine Intervention- 5.10a
  • Pondering Perpetual Motion- 5.12 Right next to Jennifer, this face climbing challenge will test even your smallest muscles.  Small ledges and tiny cracks present lots of dilemmas even for the experienced climber.   Definitely the most difficult climb at Ferne Clyffe. (Traditional)
  • Grace Under Fire- 5.11 V3 The easy toprope setup could relax you just enough to think that this is going to be an easy climb, but the potential highball problem at the end just might tangle you up.  Keep it smart and this is a great climb. (Traditional)
  • Under the Influence- 5.8  Watch out for the angle on this climb which can be extra slippery if its wet. (Traditional)
  • Hawk’s Beak- 5.7  This crack can be deceiving but the route is worth the top out…if you make it.  (Traditional)
  • Ditch Pitch- 5.3 The best beginners route at Ferne Clyffe with easy footholds and lots of saves. (Traditional)
Ferne Clyffe has a campground for every type of camper:  modern, primitive, youth groups, backpack or equestrian.  The shower facilities that are offered at some campgrounds are available seasonally.
Ferne Clyffe State Park
Rt. 37 South, P.O. Box 10
Goreville, IL 62939
Phone:  618-995-2411
Rates range from $10-$40 per day depending on group size, location and discounts
The Gambit Inn
1550 State Route 146 East 
Vienna, Illinois 62995
Phone:  618-658-6022
Rimrocks Dogwood Cabins
Bob and Dixie Dart
RR2, Box 124
Elizabethtown, Illinois 62931
Phone: (618) 264-6036
Rates vary depending on Cabins. 
Ferne Clyffe State Park can be reached from I-57 and I-24. The park is well signed from both interstate highways. If traveling south on I-57, take the Goreville exit, #40, approximately 12 miles south of Marion, IL At exit #40 turn left (east), go 5 miles to IL Rt. 37. Turn right (south) on Rt. 37, you will see the park entrance 1 mile south of Goreville. Traveling north on I-57, take exit #40, Goreville, turn right (east), go 5 miles to IL. Rt. 37, turn right (south) on IL Rt. 37 and you will see the park entrance 1 mile south of Goreville. If traveling on I-24, take exit #7 (Goreville), turn west and go 2 miles to IL Rt. 37, turn left (south) and go ½ mile to park entrance.
Latitude: 37.5295
Longitude: -88.9828