Bike Shawnee

Shawnee National Forest & Southern Illinois Bicycling Information

Road Biking Routes


Road Biking can pretty much be accomplished all over southern Illinois and around the Shawnee National Forest. However, we figured we’d list some of the more popular road biking areas around the region in case you wanted to ride more of those!

US 76 Bike Route: This is also called TransAmerican Bike Route and the Bikecentennial. It actually goes through southern Illinois. You can start at Chester or Cave-in-Rock and follow the highways, trails and roads with the ‘Bicycle Route’ signs on them. Check out Adventure Cycling for maps of US 76 for more accurate directions. Illinois sadly lacks putting up the US 76 signage that most other states have up. When in Cave-in-Rock, be sure to take a ride on the Ferry and back, it’s totally free!

Great Rivers South: This route’s Illinois segment starts at Cave-in-Rock and ends East Cape. It follows a more extreme southern Illinois route including following the Cache River and going on the Grapevine Trail around McClure. Check out Adventure Cycling for maps, again, as there isn’t much in terms of signage showing where to go.

Ohio Scenic Byway: This stretch of highways across southern Illinois takes you through very scenic and historical areas including Shawneetown, Cave-in-Rock, Fort Massac and even to historic Cario. Check out the official website for the Illinois ORSB route.

Giant City State Park: Giant City State Park offers enough roads within the park for an excellent source of road biking. There are a lot of hills, though. There is one hill that goes up into park next to Makanda Mall called ‘The Wall’ by local cyclists. If you accept the challenge, try it out but it is a gut buster for sure. Park at one of the parking lots of the park and start exploring.

Pyramid State Park: Pyramid State Park is another great state park that offers many paved roads within the park. There are less hills than that of Giant City but still plenty of natural areas to look at. Park at one of the parking lots and start exploring the park.

Crab Orchard Auto Loop: This area of paved roads is around the Wolf Creek Causeway and it provides a lightly vehicle trafficked paved loop with National Wildlife Refuge all around with wild turkey, deer, bobcat and other critters. A General Dynamic facility is located in the middle of the loop. You can find other cyclist and runners here most nice days of the week.

Karbers Ridge: Starting from whatever point you’d like, head for Karbers Ridge Road for a nice hilly ride. Shawnee Forest Road to Garden of the Gods can also prove for a nice road ride as well. But this is hill country, that is for sure.


If you know of a road, gravel road, designated mountain bike trail or bike path that isn’t listed on our site, contact us and we will make an effort to get it listed soon!

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