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The Rim Rock to Pounds Hollow hike is an easy 3 miles with beautiful scenery the entire route.

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650' 198 m


427' 130 m


347' 106 m


346' 106 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Nice, easy, and well maintained trails. Very clean parks.


This hike includes an ancient Native American rock wall, huge bluffs, a nice creek, a beach for swimming, and some neat other history too.

Need to Know

Both parks are free. There is pay camping at Pounds Hollow Campground with some electric sites. Pounds Hollow is closed to vehicles in winter. Opens up March 1st.


For starters, I like to hike this one starting from Pounds Hollow. But Pounds is closed in winter months so I had to map it starting at Rim Rock. It's great either way, it just flows a little better from Pounds.

When you first pull into Rim Rock Park you'll be greeted by a small sample of what's here. Look to the right down the powerline for a nice bluffs view. Hiking up to the trailhead you'll see three options, right on a gravel trail, straight on a stone paved trail, or left on a stone paved trail. Take the gravel trail to the right and down into the valley.

The two stone-paved trails are just a nice easy stroll along the top of Rim Rock. But the gravel trail takes you down through a bluff-lined valley with stellar views on both sides. There are a few nice wooden bridges to cross going this way too. It's the cool way down.

Once at the bottom of the valley, the area plains out into a nice flat area and you'll see a 3-way junction ahead. Take the trail to the right again to go to Pounds Hollow Lake.

This part is a fairly flat hike along a nice clearwater creek that feeds into Pounds. There are a couple of small hills and a set of stairs about halfway on this part. Keep an eye out for the old well on the right side and there's usually a few critters in or around the creek. You'll hike right to a pretty nice beach with concrete sidewalks and parking. Just past the beach, staying close to the lake, is the old CCC built picnic area. Small rock walls built for picnic tables and remnants of the old stone walkway. It's pretty cool and I hope to be able to volunteer to clean this area up soon.

From there it's back the way you just came all the way to the 3-way junction at Rim Rock. At this 3-way now take the trail to the right/straight ahead toward Ox Lot Cave. This is where the hike gets very cool! Just around the bend is Ox Lot Cave. A long time ago this area used to be used as a livestock containment area. There is a small spring fed pipe at the back of Ox Lot Cave thats worth checking out.

Continuing on past Ox Lot you'll encounter some old rock stairs to climb. Look up the bluffs for a view of the wooden observation deck you'll soon be on. On past those rock stairs the trail turns left and a few more rock stairs lead you into a sort of cave between the huge boulders. It continues a short way turning through narrow corridors of sheer rock. It's tight but easy to get through. Once through the rocks you'll hit the big stairs section. These stairs are wooden though. A couple flights up to the observation deck you may have seen from the valley floor. Go slow and take it all in.

Once atop the stairs and observation deck, take the trail to the right for the best views of whats left of this hike. The left trail is the center one from the beginning and is just a walk through the woods. The right trail though has a bunch of scenic vista views you can walk down to. This trail is a very nice way to end the hike if you started from Rim Rock like the map above suggests. Pay attention for the old twisted cedar thats right beside this trail as well. Once close to the parking lot, again the old rock wall remnants will be on your left. If you started at Rim Rock, your hike is finished.

History & Background

An old Native American rock wall. The area was also used as a livestock containment area back in the day although it's hard to tell now.


Shared By:

Ed Glass

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 4 votes


  4.3 from 4 votes
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in Illinois


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1,408 Since Feb 26, 2019
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The gravel trail heading down to the valley floor.
Feb 26, 2019 near Shawnee…, IL
Pounds Hollow Beach.
Feb 26, 2019 near Shawnee…, IL
Ox Lot Cave. It's just a big overhang shelter but very cool to see.
Feb 26, 2019 near Shawnee…, IL
The trail 3-way coming from Pound Hollow.
Feb 26, 2019 near Shawnee…, IL
The stairs from the observation deck looking down.
Feb 26, 2019 near Shawnee…, IL
Old rock stairs just past Ox Lot.
Feb 26, 2019 near Shawnee…, IL



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