Illinois’s Stoneface Hike Really Rocks
Tucked in far southern Illinois, Shawnee National Forest is full of amazing rock formations and scenic views. One of the more unique and lesser known features is Stoneface, or Old Stoneface as locals call it. This rock formation very closely resembles the shape of a face. Read on to learn how to find and hike the Stoneface trail.
Illinois Stoneface Hike
- Distance: 0.5 mile each way to face, can hike longer to overlooks
- Difficulty: 3/5 Some rocky terrain, 200+ feet of elevation change
- Scenic Value: 4/5 Unique rock formation and overlooks
Reaching the Stoneface Trailhead
The trailhead is not well marked. You can find the road to the trailhead off Stoneface Road. If coming from the east, the road to the parking are is just after Stoneface Road makes a sharp curve to the right. The trailhead road is located on the other side of Stoneface Road from address 2845 Stoneface Road, Harrisburg, IL at approximate GPS location 37.665810, -88.439631. Both Stoneface Road and the road to the parking area are generally well graded gravel roads, but will not be maintained in winter.
Take the gravel road uphill a short distance to a parking area with room for 6 cars or so. The trail starts to the left of a brown sign that says Stoneface Natural Area.
Hiking Past Caves
The trail goes uphill from the parking area. Keep an eye out for the white trail markers on the trees.
After about a quarter mile, the trail will get close to the bluffs. There are even a couple small caves along the way to explore.
Past the second cave, keep an eye out for the trail to make a hard right and head uphill along a switchback. There is a white trail marker on a tree at this point. You can also use the All Trails map or app to keep on track of where this turn is located.
Reaching the Stoneface
The trail continues uphill and soon levels out. The path is easier along the top. You can even catch some nice overlook views in a couple spots.
The trail passes by two wooden fences. Just past the second wooden fence, look along the bluff line below and the Stoneface will come into view at exactly 0.5 miles from the trailhead.
The face is quite distinct with a large nose, deep wrinkles, and a prominent forehead.
You can even walk out on top of the head, but please be very careful. It’s a very long way down if someone falls.
Completing the Stoneface Hike
If you wish to hike further, you can continue on a short distance and the path will lead to a great overlook view at a powerline cut. From here, the trail is overgrown and difficult so this is the spot most people turn around. Return back the way you came to return to the parking area.
Things to Know Before You Go
- You can print a great map of the Shawnee Forest attractions here.
- There are no restrooms or other facilities at the Stoneface trailhead.
- Cell phone service in the forest can be spotty. Best to download offline maps or print a map before you go.
- Always remember to pack out what you bring in.
More to See
Shawnee National Forest has many amazing hikes and places to explore. Garden of the Gods is not far from Stoneface and offers some of the most scenic views of anywhere in the state. Glen Jones Lake in the Saline County State Wildlife Area is located a short distance from Stoneface and offers hiking, camping, a seasonal concession, restrooms, boat ramp, and fishing.
If you are looking for a great place to eat nearby, check out the Red Onion in Equality. The food is delicious and the prices are reasonable. Next door to the Red Onion is the adorable Salt Threads Boutique with home decor and women’s and kids clothing and accessories.
Have you ever seen Stoneface?