Winter is a great time to enjoy the slower, quieter side of Shawnee Forest Country in Southernmost Illinois.  The cooler temperatures mean no bugs or snakes and the trees are bare, allowing you to see much further into the forests. Bluffs hidden behind the summer foliage emerge dramatically into sight.  The Shawnee National Forest can be magical any time of the year but the transition to winter can be especially dramatic.

Hiking is available year-round, and if you have visited in another season winter can offer a very different experience.  The weather is generally mild, and you can pretty much have the trails all to yourself.  Enjoy a peacefulness that only winter can provide.  If you are really lucky, the waterfalls will be flowing or frozen, either sight is beautiful!  If you don’t want to explore on your own, there are options for guided hikes with Hiking with Shawn, Bart Lane’s guided hikes, a packaged stay with Steve of Rim Rock’s Dogwood Cabins, or a photography adventure

After a day of hiking, bicycling, horseback riding or zip-lining relax in front of a fire, or roast hot dogs and marshmallows.    Some cabins and cottages also offer hot tubs, as well as booking incentives for December through February.  You will also find more last minute availability this time of year. 

For January and February, the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail provides great incentives to visit, with their passport program.  Enjoy savoring their wines and saving big with great discounts on wine, merchandise, food and more.  

With your purchase of a $20.00 winery passport, you will receive discounts at each of the member wineries and a chance to win wonderful prizes along the trail.  Passports are available for sale at www.shawneewinetrail.com.    Spend Valentine’s Day at a Shawnee Hills Wine Trail winery!  On site lodging is available at several of the wineries. 

The first weekend in March, August and November are Wine & Food Pairing Weekends –each year!   All 11 wineries of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail have paired up to create three wonderful weekends of savory wine and food pairings.  We invite you to join us for a progressive tasting along the trail and enhance your appreciation and enjoyment of our wines paired with delicious samples.

This is a great weekend to explore different styles of Illinois wine with many different, delicious and comforting dishes.  Make it a romantic weekend, or a girlfriend getaway! 

There are eleven wineries on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and they are all open year round. Fewer people mean a casual pace and more intimate tasting experience. 

For more info call 1-800-C-IT-HERE or  visit southernmostillinois.com