01° Ferne Clyffe

Waterfall Trail, Hawk’s Cave, Lake Overlook Trail

June 22nd


Goreville, IL | 4 Hours | Easy

Aptly named because of its wide variety of ferns, Ferne Clyffe is a 2,430 acre Illinois State Park located just south of Goreville, IL. In addition to over 700 species of plant life, it is also home to several beautiful waterfalls, Ferne Clyffe Lake, and countless limestone bluffs, bolders, and overhanging rocks. The park offers primitive, RV, group, and equestrian camping with seasonal showers available. There are 18 trails in total, including the equestrian trails, offering plenty of unique sight-seeing and photographic opportunities.

What We Will Be Shooting

Water Fall Trail

Hawks Cave

Lake Overlook

Nature and Macro

We’ll be exploring some of Ferne Clyffe’s most stunning, photo-worthy locations. Our first stop will be Ferne Clyffe Waterfall, a beautiful 100 foot waterfall at the end of Big Rocky Hollow Trail, with many opportunities for shots of creeks and smaller falls along the way. After hiking back out to the parking area, we’ll then hike to Hawk’s Cave, a 150 foot tall shelter bluff, one of the tallest in the state. Both trails offer ample macro opportunities of ferns and other plant life, as well as the unique textures of the sandstone bluffs and rocks. We’ll load back up and take a short drive through the park up to the trailhead of the Blackjack Oak Trail to round out the evening with golden hour and sunset shots of the scenic view from atop the bluff overlooking the lake.


4:00 — Arrival at Bottoms Parking lot

Arrive at the parking lot near Hawk’s Cave, Rebman Trail, and Big Rocky Hollow Trail heads, get acquainted, geared up, and ready to walk.

4:15 - 5:45 — Waterfall Trail

Take Big Rocky Hollow Trail all the way back where it ends at the bottom of Ferne Clyffe Waterfall. 0.5mi out and back

6:00 - 7:30 — Hawk’s Cave Trail

Take Hawk’s Cave Trail to Hawk’s Cave and finish the loop out back to the parking lot. 0.7mi Loop

7:45 - 8:00 — Drive up to Group Camping Parking

Take a short drive to the campground parking area.

8:00 - Sunset — Blackjack Oak Trail

Take the Blackjack Oak trail down to the bluff overlooking the lake. less than 0.25mi out and back

What You Will Learn

Photowalks are open to all skill levels and we have something for everyone. Here are a few things we offer for those looking to grow their skills.

  • How to use your camera - basic camera settings

  • Composition and framing

  • Finding interesting shots

  • Mobile editing

Sign Up

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See below for a download of the liability waiver

Location and Directions

Lat. Lon: 37.542704, -88.980435

Current Weather

What To Bring

  • Camera

  • Snacks/Water

  • Tripod (Optional)

  • ND Filters (Optional)