Illinois

Cedar Bluff, Illinois (IL)

Just outside of Ferne Clyffe State Park, there is another bluff, keeping to itself and waiting to be conquered.  Cedar Bluff is a beautiful formation full of traditional and sport climbs, great for beginners and difficult enough to challenge the experts.  Loaded with different routes and sectors, this bluff is available to climb only because of the diligent work that has been done to it by Adopt-A-Crag Volunteers.  Climbers are the ones leading the way to protect access to these formations, and are avid about pursuing this cause across the United States.  While climbing at Cedar Bluff, it is vital that you leave the terrace stones in place and use only the established trails.

Location

Cedar Bluff, Illinois
United States
37° 31' 18.12" N, 89° 1' 22.44" W
US

Drapers Bluff, Illinois (IL)

Just south of Marion, Illinois and echoing the sounds of the Shawnee National Forest, lies a beautiful landscape of sandstone and limestone called Draper’s Bluff.  Once open to the public, this private bluff can now be accessed by paying a fee and opting for a guided climb.  Climbers ranging from beginners to superstars all say that this bluff is worth the fee.  The bluff is full of mixed-pro routes for beginning climbers to routes that will test just how comfortable you really are with being 100 feet up in the air hanging from a rock.
 
The owners of Drapers Bluff offer a variety of options for folks wanting to climb.  Their programs are in two general formats:  Technical Instruction via open-enrollment pre-scheduled classes and Guided Top Rope Climbing for individuals and groups by reservation only.

Location

Drapers Bluff, Illinois
United States
37° 30' 53.28" N, 89° 2' 37.32" W
US

Ferne Clyffe, Illinois (IL)

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. 

Location

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

Giant City, Illinois (IL)

Formed over 12,000 years ago and attracting 1.2 million visitors yearly, Giant City State park boasts some of the most exciting and scenic rock climbing in the Midwest. Here you can get some advice from the ghost of a confederate soldier who used these grounds as a haven or have a powwow next to the remains of one of the oldest Native American stone walls.   These sandstone bluffs provide adventure to the climbers of today, but provided shelter to ancestors over 10,000 years ago.  Climbing and rappelling are permitted at the park in two locations. The areas of Devil's Standtable cliff and Shelter #1 bluff at the Makanda entrance are accessible to climbers, and ropes are permitted on these cliffs. No permanent anchors allowed. Watch out for the copperhead snakes that like to sunbathe on the ledges!

Location

Giant City, Illinois
United States
37° 36' 18" N, 89° 11' 18.24" W
US

Jackson Falls, Illinois (IL)

130,000 years ago the Laurentide ice sheet that covered up 85 percent of Illinois probably seemed like a pretty big problem to our ancestors. Instead of fretting over glaciers in 2011, we are blessed to have had that ice sheet form canyons and bluffs across the Shawnee National Forest that can be perfect for modern day rock climbers. Jackson Falls, part of the Shawnee National Forest, now offers a scenic plethora of 60 foot sandstone bluffs with hundreds of named climbing routes. This presents climbers with what is noted as the best spot in Southern Illinois for sport rock climbing. The area does offer a few traditional routes and top-rope options, and most routes are 5.9 and above. While climbing at Jackson Falls, you are expected to stay on the obvious trails as there are many protected plants and endangered species in the forest.

Location

Jackson Falls, Illinois
United States
37° 17' 43.8" N, 88° 24' 20.52" W
US