Do you know about the ‘Illinois Ozarks’? It’s not just in Missouri & Arkansas


Landmark Camel Rock in Garden of the Gods Wilderness in Shawnee National Forest. Southern Illinois. RAW source image processed with Nikon Capture NX version 1.3

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ill. – Missouri’s Ozarks are a well-known travel destination with entertainment, great food, history, a thriving community, and a giant lake. There is even a Netflix series based on the area.

Did you know that Illinois also has a region called the Ozarks? You may have visited several locations in the area without knowing it. It is also filled with natural wonders. explains why you should connect the area with the rest of the Ozarks:

“When you think of the Ozarks most envision the hills and hollows of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. In fact, the same range crosses the Mississippi River and forms some of the most beautiful scenery in the nation right here in southeastern Illinois. Newspaperman L.O. Trigg, known as Col. Trigg, recognized the potential for this part of Illinois in the early 1930s when he began organizing an annual “Ozark Tour.” Each year a group of about 20 men would spend three days traveling with Col. Trigg visiting unique sites in the area. Many of the locations visited are now part of Illinois State Parks or the Shawnee National Forest.”

Well, the area may not technically be a part of the Ozarks. But, they are a part of the Shawnee Hills. The region is geologically similar to the Ozarks west of the Mississippi River. There is also an unincorporated community in Johnson County at the very southern tip of Illinois named, Ozark.

The term Illinois Ozarks is primarily used to promote tourism to the area. There are a lot of wonderful places to visit including Garden of the Gods, Cave-in-Rock State Park, Bell Smith Springs, Illinois Iron Furnace, and interesting resorts and cabins to stay in. Don’t forget to stop by the Shawnee National Forest.

The University of Illinois also recognizes the area as, “one of the richest, most biologically diverse areas of the state.”

So, take some time to visit the Illinois Ozarks soon. The forests in the area will soon present their fall colors. It should make for a visit you won’t forget.

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