Elevation: 673 ft
GPS: 37.507, -88.682 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 414,119 total · 2,921/month
Shared By: Ethan on Aug 30, 2007 with improvements by Travis Crane and 1 other
Admins: chris tregge, Dave Hug


Jackson falls has the largest number of climbing routes in Illinois. Located in a forest canyon the 30-70 foot walls offer slopers, various sized pockets, roofs, and slabs. Jackson Falls is in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. It can get hot and humid in the summer but there's plenty of shade.

Here's a map based loosely off the map in the Ulner guide, but done from memory. Red ATCs represent accessible anchors for rap points, brown paths over the cliff represent places I know are safe to scramble in. Blue is the creek bed, and brown are the cut across paths. The paths2013-09-289508.53.34.jpg2013-09-289508.53.34.jpg on the bottom and top of the cliff are not marked

Breakdown of all the roped climbing areas for reference.


[[Illinois Climbers Association]]ilclimbers.org
Founded in 2002. The Illinois Climbers Association is a charitable organization representing the climbers of Illinois. We are dedicated to preserving climbing and bouldering access in Illinois through education, conservation, and cooperation.


The Illinois Climbers Association is a 501(c)3 charitable organization created to:

  1. Promote and support conservation and preservation of both rock climbing and bouldering areas, and their respective natural resources in Illinois
  2. Encourage optimal recreational use of Illinois outdoor climbing resources through land stewardship education and by facilitating cooperation between climbers, private land owners, and public land managers
  3. Encourage and promote the development of policies and practices that will preserve climbing and bouldering areas in Illinois

Click HERE to donate towards the Illinois Climber Association's re-bolting cause.

Getting There

From I24 turn North on highway 45 turn right (East) on Ozark road for about 4.5 miles. Turn left on Trigg Tower Road to the first farmhouse and turn right. The parking is about 2 miles down the dirt road just before crossing the creek.


In Illinois there are 3 guide books for the southern portion of the state. The first is Eric Ulner's book Vertical Heartland.

Vertical Heartland 3rd Edition

His guide is a good representation of the legal climbing destinations in the state and primarily focus on sport and traditional climbing.

The second is Matt Bliss's book Sandstone Warrior.

Sandstone Warrior

His guide beautifully lays out the majority of the bouldering found in S.I. and includes quality color photos to aid in your boulder problem deciphering. These two guides provide you with all the necessary tools to navigate our local crags. Pick them up and go enjoy the climbing that Illinois has to offer.

The newest guide:


503 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at Jackson Falls

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Big Wall Greg's Chicken Shack
Sport, TR
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Luscious Babes
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Stubborn Swede
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Fine Nine
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Cheerio Bowl
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Master Marley
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Earthbound Misfit
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Spiders From Mars
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Group Therapy
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Wild at Heart
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Lovely Arete
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Detox Mountain
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Hidden Treasures
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Big Wall Greg's Chicken Shack A. N Canyon > A. Mr. Jimmy
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Sport, TR
Luscious Babes A. N Canyon > B. E.M.J. Wall
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Sport
Stubborn Swede E S Canyon > C. Hidden Peaks > E The Monument
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Chimichonga A. N Canyon > B. E.M.J. Wall
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Fine Nine C. N Falls > C. Lovely Tower
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Cheerio Bowl E S Canyon > C. Hidden Peaks > D. Pricker Peak
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Venom A. N Canyon > A. Mr. Jimmy
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Master Marley C. N Falls > D. Spleef Peak
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Earthbound Misfit B. W Falls > A. The Gallery
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Spiders From Mars A. N Canyon > A. Mr. Jimmy
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Group Therapy B. W Falls > A. The Gallery
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Wild at Heart A. N Canyon > I. Railroad Rock
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Lovely Arete C. N Falls > C. Lovely Tower
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Detox Mountain E S Canyon > C. Hidden Peaks > C. Cranial/Detox Wall
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Hidden Treasures C. N Falls > C. Lovely Tower
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Jackson Falls »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Ladd Raine    
Dr. Topo guidebook Nov 28, 2007
Christian M. Lenn
Evansville, IN
Christian M. Lenn   Evansville, IN
Vertical Heartland,Eric Ulner The comprehensive guidebook for southern illinois Jun 4, 2008
chris tregge
chris tregge   Beersconsin  
The Dr. Topo guide says turn right on Glenn Falls Road, which apparently has been renamed Street Road. The rest is accurate.

12/2015: sadly the Dr. Topo guide is no longer available, PM me if you would like a copy Feb 22, 2009
I don't know how to add the lat/long stuff to this post but these are the coordinates according to Google Earth: 37°29'40"N 88°39'55"W Mar 10, 2009
Bob Kryzer
Bob Kryzer   Minnesota
The most beautiful climbing area I have ever been to. Large amounts of rock and amazing routes! Apr 29, 2009
chris tregge
chris tregge   Beersconsin  
A lot of the routes posted for Jackson Falls contain sparse info.

If you post something better or more descriptive, or have any FA info, etc, post a comment under the route and I'll fix it. Thanks. Dec 11, 2010
anchorage, alaska
JBroom   anchorage, alaska
Beautiful area! No matter how many destinations I go to Jackson will always be a favorite of mine. Amazing sandstone sport climbing, free camping and you can have the place pretty much to yourself during the week! Jan 12, 2011
Sorry to double post but this didn't seem appropriate for a condition report.
After an intense day of climbing this campground was about 25 minutes away and had hot showers for $3 a person. They also sell ice and firewood.
maps.google.com/maps?f=q&so… Jun 6, 2011
Looking to see if anyone want to fly(in a plane) down with me for the wknd. to Jackson Falls leaving Friday(10/28) AM and returning Sun. Aft?

LMK and I will send you the cost sharing details. Flying makes a 6 hr drive a 2 hour flight. LMK right away- Thanks Oct 25, 2011
Ted Peterson
Boulder, CO
Ted Peterson   Boulder, CO
MP is great for new routes and getting the lay of the land, but if you are going to be spending some time at the Falls, might as well buy the guidebook and support the local climbing community. Vertical Heartland, 3rd edition. Order online, from Eric, or pick it up at Shawnee Trails in Carbondale. FYI, there are many new sport routes not in the guidebook, so perhaps MP is great as an addendum. Jul 8, 2012
Collin Carlier
Champaign, Illinois
Collin Carlier   Champaign, Illinois
I'm going to be camping around this area the weekend of 5/31/14 and am looking for someone willing to loan a rope. I would gladly pay a rental fee. Just message me here in the comments. Thanks! May 25, 2014
Grey Satterfield
Grey Satterfield   Broomfield
How does the rock hold up after the rain? Will moist holds break off? I want to climb here this weekend but the weather looks threatening. Jun 4, 2014
We tried to climb when it was moist and not possible. All the holds have buckets of water and moss and fungus in them. You have to let it dry out for a couple days.

We camped at:

Cedar Lake Campground for 2 nights $15/night. Wifi, electricity, showers, super friendly people. Showers need to be cleaned and redone but usable.
But this is about 5 miles from JF. Jun 12, 2014
Matt Hodges
Berea, Ky
Matt Hodges   Berea, Ky
Jackson Falls just became our local crag and I'm looking for more partners! My wife and I currently go out about once a week. We mostly climb moderates and I'm starting to get back on harder stuff. If you are around let's climb!

PS: Anyone know where to pick up a guide book? The topo is super outdated. Jun 16, 2015
Travis Crane
St. Louis, MO
Travis Crane   St. Louis, MO
Matt Hodges, my friend Yusuf actually just created a brand new guidebook for Jacskon Falls. It's completely updated with great route support. Here's the link: brayackmedia.com/jfalls/jfa…

Also, I have a friend and his wife who want to start climbing at JF but have never climbed outdoors before. They're planning on going this weekend. If you're willing to help them get up and going I'm sure they'd love the company. PM me if you'd like their info. Jun 18, 2015
Max Cody
Salt Lake City, UT
Max Cody   Salt Lake City, UT
Does anyone know the story on the large blocks that look to have been pushed into the stream at the top of the waterfall next to the dog walk? Some reason behind it? Or just assholes being assholes? That spot was always so nice. Now between that and the big tree that fell, it looks fucked up. Jul 23, 2015
Justin Meyer
Madison, WI
Justin Meyer   Madison, WI
The bolt hangers at the top of the route next to the north waterfall were wrapped in tape (so people could rap in on them) so I added quick links 9/7/15. Hope this is ok.

I didn't have a wrench and won't be back to the area any time soon so if someone else could crank them down I would appreciate it.

Anyone know the name of that route? Sep 8, 2015
Las Cruces, NM
J.Kruse   Las Cruces, NM
Justin Meyer, name of the route is Lovin Lizards Sep 8, 2015
chris tregge
chris tregge   Beersconsin  
Comments from user Justin Meyer:

See maps at mountainproject.com/v/10675… and mountainproject.com/v/10835… for parking, camping, and access points to the canyon.

There is free primitive camping available at the main parking lot as well as on the side of the dirt road after crossing the creek.

There are poison ivy and ground bees throughout the forest including near camping areas, next to trails and next to climbing routes. Be able to identify poison ivy and avoid it.

A great place to cool off after climbing in hot weather is in Bell Smith Springs fs.usda.gov/recarea/shawnee/re... just a few miles away. The water is tinted but relatively clean and cool. If cliff jumping be careful as the water is not consistently deep and may hide rocks or logs. Follow an experienced local.
Sep 8, 2015
Elias P  
Went here for the first time last weekend. I would recommend driving an suv on the road there. I would also recommend just doing the primitive camping at Jackson Falls. Definitely a sweet place! Mar 18, 2016
Tyler Metheney
St Louis
Tyler Metheney   St Louis
Anybody around the Stl area want to make a trip here? Shoot me a message. Cheers! Jan 1, 2017
mike varlotta
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
mike varlotta   Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I have the month of July to climb around the midwest. Our goal is to climb in as many states as possible. We will be climbing from OH & MI down through IN, IL and all the rest to OK and possibly TX and AR. I know that it's not a great month to be climbing in those parts, but it's when i have the time off so I'm going to have to make due. I've heard Jackson Falls is probably the best of IL climbing. If we are strategic in how we chase shade, can I hope to get a decent sampling of the place? Just as important, are there any other destinations in IL (or any of the neighboring states) that are go to places when the temps and humidity are high? Any other beta about destinations in the region not to be missed would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Jan 13, 2017
Danny Andrews
Austin, TX
Danny Andrews   Austin, TX
What's the anchor situation like here? Are there a lot of sport clips, or mainly rap rings? Gotta figure out if I should teach my girlfriend how to clean anchors before we head out there this weekend. Apr 23, 2018