Elevation: 574 ft
GPS: 37.534, -88.983 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Dave Hug on Feb 1, 2015
Admins: Dave Hug
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Ferne Clyffe State Park is located a short drive from Interstate 57, about 1 mile south of Goreville Illinois. The park has seen technical climbing since the 1960's. Throughout its climbing history, routes have been established park wide. However, since the mid 1980's, park officials have changed their management plans. While this has greatly limited the amount of legal climbing, what still remains is comprised of some of the finest stone the park has to offer.

Most of the climbing that is available is primarily top roped. Fern also offers a small portion of quality traditional leads that are well protected. It is important to note that park management does not allow fixed anchors. When building anchors the standard is to establish them off strong/live trees on top, although many roots are exposed. Regardless, the available climbing found at Fern Cylffe will not disappoint. Enjoy the solitude of a sparsely populated crag and have fun pulling it's quality sandstone. This area should be a must for anyone passing through on the interstate and is curious about the climbing in Illinois.

Getting There

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.

From the park entrance, follow the road for 1.7 miles to the parking area. At .5 miles, take a left at the stop sign. At .8 miles turn right at the fork by the lake. On the North side of the parking lot there are round stepping stones for crossing the creek. Follow the grass trail straight and then take the trail to the far right and you will see a sign for Rebman Trail. Continue walking straight for about 100 ft. You will come to the boulder problems.


Currently, Fern Clyffe State Park has two guidebooks available for purchase to guide your climbing experience. The first being Eric Ulner's book Vertical Heartland which accurately shows routes and their descriptions. The second guide for Fern is Matt Bliss's book Sandstone Warrior. In Matt's guide he covers all the great bouldering that the park has to offer along with beautifully pictured pages. Both guides can be picked up at Shawnee Trails in Carbondale Illinois.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Ferne Clyffe S.P.

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Open Book (aka I Don't Care)
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Hawk's Beak
Trad, TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Open Book (aka I Don't Care) Main Wall
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad, TR
Hawk's Beak Main Wall
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
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Taylor Gemperline
St. Louis
Taylor Gemperline   St. Louis
Does the waterfall often run year round, and has anyone had the pleasure of rapping it for a fun cool down in the summer? Jul 23, 2018