Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or you’ve never stepped foot on a walking trail, the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail located Hikers on the winter trail an ever green in the foreground in Southern Illinois is the perfect place to go on a hike. According to Midwest Living, “Most people stay on the trail a while because these little towns—not a stoplight among them—along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail offer enough to fill several days. Fresh-picked apples fill baskets at Rendleman Orchards’ Farm Market, and apple dumplings tempt at Flamm Orchards. Walking trails around Cedar Lake cross creek shallows; hilly hikes through Little Grand Canyon and Giant City State Park shred stereotypes about Illinois’ landscape. Dozens of bed-and-breakfasts and cabins burrow in the hills. Additionally, the wineries reveal personalities all their own—not to mention a mix of sweet and dry varieties reflecting the region’s deepening understanding of winemaking.”

Rock stairs leading up the spring green colorsAs you can see, the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail boasts much more than wineries and wine tasting venues. It’s become a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and there’s never been a better time to enjoy the area’s numerous hiking trails. Let’s take a quick look at the top six reasons you should go hiking on the Shawnee Wine Trail. 

Enjoy Hiking and Wine Tasting All at the Same TimeRows of grape vines and tree set against the bright blue sky

Okay, we already mentioned the Shawnee Wine Trail offers much more than wine tasting, but it does deserve a bit of attention. This trail is home to 11 award-winning wineries, making it the ideal place to hike and taste wine. During your hiking adventure, you can stop in at any of the wineries and taste for yourself why the wines have earned awards. Some of the wineries even offer onsite restaurants.

Hiking Improves Your HappinessGreen moss grow on the rock bluff near the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail

When you go hiking along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, you’re going to enjoy an improvement in your mood. According to a 2015 Stanford University study, hiking improves your mood, decreases your anxiety and even improves your memory. With lower levels of anxiety and better memory recall, you’re sure to lead a happier life. You might even find yourself incorporating hiking into your weekly routine thanks to all of its benefits. 

There’s Literally Everything to Do

When we say there’s a little of this and a little of that along the Shawnee Wine Trail, that’s exactly what we mean. You’re going to find a wide array of specialty shops, restaurants, wineries, breweries, and even art galleries all along the wine trail. Similarly, you will find lakes to go boating, fishing, a cypress swamp to go canoeing or kayaking, and even a world class zipline canopy tour. You can even book a cabin or cottage at the Makanda Inn, giving you a convenient way to hike and rest without having to travel far from the wine trail. In fact, you’ll still be right on it. Come and enjoy a couple of nights around the campfire at your cabin. After a good night’s rest, you’ll be ready to head back out the next morning to enjoy all that there is to do.

It’s Time to Fight Depression

Did you know hiking can actually ward off depression? That’s right, and when you pair hiking with the breathtaking scenery of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, you’ll find yourself mesmerized with the beauty of the area. The LA Times recently released discoveries of a study that says, “A 90-minute stroll in a natural environment can lead to measurable benefits for the brain, and may help combat depression.” So take that weight off your shoulders and hit the trail. 

Find Answers to Life’s Problems

Have a concern or problem you’re finding overwhelming? Did you know going on a hike on the Shawnee Wine Trail can help you find the answer to your problem? The Huffington Post published the findings of a 2012 study, which stated, “Spending time outdoors increases attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.” After spending a night in one of the area’s cabins or cottages, make sure to turn to the hiking trails of the Shawnee Wine Trail. See if you can find a few answers to some of your biggest questions, concerns, and problems. 

Get in Better Shape

Not only does hiking improve your mental health, but it also serves as an essential method for improving the shape of your body. In fact, hiking is one of the most healthy ways to get fit. “Especially if you hike briskly, making it a great low impact cardio activity. For those that care about calories, hiking will help you burn around 500 calories an hour.” You’re not going to find that kind of calorie-burning in many other forms of exercise. 

Today is the day to go on a hike. Come to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail to enjoy hiking at its finest. 

A list of wineries on the Shawnee Hills Wine TrailCTA Wine Trail sign

  • Honker Hill – Fun social atmosphere with live entertainment.
  • Blue Sky Vinyard – Tuscan theme in a spectacular country setting. 
  • Feather Hills – Family owned intimate setting and a nice breeze in the summer.
  • Starview Vineyard – Great view with wedding and event venue. 
  • Hedman Vineyard – Home of the Peach Barn Cafe with authentic Swedish cuisine.
  • Alto Vineyard – The oldest winery on the wine trail.
  • Von Jakob – Winery, brewery, grille and pub. 
  • Hickory Ridge – Cozy tasting room with great outdoor area and view.
  • Pomona Winery – Non-grape wines you will not want to pass up, truly unexpected.
  • Kite Hill – Great wine and a Bed & Breakfast too. 

Other Notable wineries in the area: 

  • Lincoln Heritage Winery 
  • Bella T Winery
  • Monte Alegre Vineyard / Cellars
  • Walkers Bluff