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Trail of Tears State Forest

2018-2019 Season


LOCATION: 5 miles northwest of Jonesboro in Union County between Illinois Routes 127 and Route 3

DESCRIPTION: Total Acres: 5,019

Water Acres: Scattered small (1/5 acre) ponds and Clear Creek (one mile of stream along the forest's west boundary)

Huntable Acres: 4,784; Timber Acres: 5,083; Open, Cultivated or Fallow Land Acres: 30

This area lies within the Ozark Hills of southern Illinois, composed of long, narrow ridges with steep slopes and narrow valleys. Approximately 95% of the area has mature hardwood forest.


There are good populations of squirrels, white tailed deer, raccoons, and wild turkeys on the area. Waterholes and wildlife openings are maintained to provide improved habitat conditions for these species.


Picnic sites are present at two main picnic areas located along the county road and along gravel roads. There are eight shelters, four in the main picnic area, and four at some remote sites along the forest's roads. Trails and trail systems are designated for hiking, backpacking or horseback riding. Catfish and other creek species can be caught from Clear Creek (along the west boundary).


  1. All hunters must SIGN IN and OUT and report harvest each day at the registration boxes before leaving the site.
  2. Hunting is prohibited in the 222 acre Ozark Hills Nature Preserve, the compartment adjoining the picnic area, slopes facing into nursery beds, and within 200 yards of any site buildings.
  3. The fire trails are closed to all vehicles, except for authorized state vehicles.

For further information, contact the Site Superintendent, Trail of Tears State Forest, 4230 State Forest Road, Jonesboro, IL 62952, Phone 618/833-4910 or 618/457-4836.

Equal opportunity to participate in programs of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and those funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies is available to all individuals regardless of race, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, or other non-merit factors. If you believe you have been discriminated against, contact the funding source’s civil rights office and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, IDNR, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702; (217)785-0067; TTY (217)782-9175.