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About Jackson Falls (Climbing Routes):

Traditional, Bouldering, and Sport climbing.

If you plan on climbing at Jackson check out the online printable guide book at Dr Topo

It's only about 20-30 minutes from Cedar Bluff, Draper's Bluff, and Ferne Clyffe State Park.

Camping is available, but bring your own water. Not as much easy climbing as other southern Illinois destinations. Probably the average of all the ratings would be 12; lotsa 10s, though, and a good number of 11s, too; some 13s. There continues to be ongoing development of bolted and trad routes. There is plenty of bouldering, too; this is covered in the seperate bouldering section for Jackson Falls.

There's a public pit toilet, thanks to local advocacy and The Access Fund. No running water, other than the creek (not recommended). Rap down into the Falls at the end of the obvious trail from the right hand camping area, or follow a trail, left at the rap anchors, across the creek and up, and pretty well around to two or three different access scrambles. Or,veer right at the rap anchors and stay on that trail for a long, roughly west-to-northwest hike, to get to a scramble down by Railroad Rock (where there is one of the best 10c, some real good 11s and 12s, and a technical 13a). The cliffline pretty much comes to an end where this access gulley is located. Best to get into the canyon via the rappel at the North Falls or at the Dog Walk scramble, though, unless you're specifically going only to Railroad Rock.

In a few different areas around some popular climbs, there are concentrations of 10s: around Psychotherapy; around Express Checkout; and around Cheerio Bowl.

Please don't rap off trees; please stay on clear and obvious trails. Horses have wreaked havoc in the past few years in the canyon, tearing up trails that climbers originally created with the blessing of the National Forest. Guided horse riding is supposed to be banned, but the latest word is that horse traffic is worse than ever.

There may be times during hunting seasons in the fall when it could be less wise to be here, but there are no official closures.

As with anywhere in a remote camping situation, be aware that break-ins have occurred. A heightened awarness from the rangers and local police helps, but Jackson Falls is still a remote destination.

Please don't litter; please use already established fire rings. Enjoy it. Eat at Dad's Pizza in Goreville, about 20 minutes away, west on Tunnel Hill Road to Rte. 37, make a right for a brief ride into Goreville. Dad's will be the place with the lights on that isn't the Shell Station. You may see some beat up muddy old cars that look strangely familiar parked out front, too.

Check local weather here

See Recommended Routes

Nearest town or city: Ozark/ big town: Marion

From the south, you can take either Interstate 57 to Rte. 146, east to Hwy 45, northeast to Ozark Road; or Interstate 24 north to Hwy 45, northeast to Ozark Road.

From the north, get to Interstate 57, then south to where Interstate 24 splits to the southeast (right hand lane, long curving exit), to Tunnel Hill Road exit, Tunnel Hill Road left, to intersection with Hwy 45, left onto Hwy 45, to Ozark Road.

From Harrisburg take Hwy 45 south to Ozark Road.

Ozark Road: about 4 1/2 winding miles 'til you come to an intersection near Zion Church and Cemetary. Veer left, staying on Ozark. After another 200 yards or so, turn right at a farmhouse on a hill (usually a couple of dogs to chase your car, too), onto what some might facetiously call a paved county road (it's a gravel road). After about a bumpy-mile, you'll be heading down toward an oil pan-eating rocky creek bed. Just before the creek bed, turn right to park and camp, or just after, turn left to do the same. The road continues, but there's not much available beyond these main camping and parking areas.

NOTE: Climbers may want to consider rounding out their southern Illinois climbing by going to Cedar and Draper's Bluff, and Ferne Clyffe State Park, all about 20-30 minutes away. Get back to Tunnel Hill Road, cross over I-24, to Rte. 37. Go south (left) to the Ferne Clyffe State Park entrance, or further, to the little town of Buncombe; right, to Lick Creek Road. Cedar and Draper's Bluffs are on Lick Creek Road, about 10 minutes past Buncombe. Click the links above to go to the full descriptions.

Latitude, Longitude: 37.29550, -88.40568
Access Issues:
Camping: Free
When to Climb:
Quantity of Climbs: Year


SequenceSequence numbers indicate the left (L) to right (R) order of the routes. Rating Route Difficulty Ascents
0 Average Rating = 3.50/5 unknown 5.10a 2

Topo Images

No route specified Solace
No route specified If I Could Fly

Forum Discussions (See all 27 posts )

  Subject Author Replies Last Post
With Replies Trad practice on Sport?? memcf 3 Sep 02 2014, 5:31 PM
No Replies climbing season and whether this weekend would work sershe 0 May 29 2014, 6:37 PM
With Replies New Routes?? climbers? info?? bdogg1112 1 Sep 04 2012, 2:16 AM
With Replies Oil-pan eating creek bed?! jmarck 4 Jun 24 2012, 11:10 PM
With Replies craptacular i actually found it (the dr. topo guide that is) theboogieclimber 1 Oct 12 2010, 6:29 PM
With Replies anybody got the topo for Jackson Falls form Dr. Topo? theboogieclimber 5 Sep 10 2010, 12:27 AM
With Replies climbing during hunting season jobryan 9 Oct 14 2010, 5:45 PM
With Replies north falls access jobryan 3 Nov 18 2009, 1:15 AM
No Replies Looking for climbers matt.warner 0 Jun 06 2009, 6:21 PM
With Replies Looking for route info circello 2 Jan 08 2009, 10:14 PM
With Replies Spring midwest climbing mwelly007 9 Apr 18 2008, 4:46 PM
With Replies New routes in Jackson Falls? backpackmonkey 3 Mar 17 2008, 3:11 PM
With Replies Jackson Falls, nalgene found bouldrinsoill 3 Jun 26 2007, 5:20 PM
With Replies Pack it out shanz 3 May 29 2007, 5:30 PM
No Replies climbable ice? purplemonk 0 Feb 03 2007, 9:41 PM