Bell Smith Springs Recreation Area

Bells Smith Springs in Pictures

Bell Smith Springs is one of the most beautiful recreation areas the Shawnee National Forest has to offer. It contains a series of clear, rockystreams and scenic canyons bordered by high sandstone cliffs and an abundance of vegetation unique to Southern Illinois.

 The Bells Smith Springs trail system    (Trail Map) consists of eight miles of interconnected trails featuring strange and wonderful rock formations, such as Devil's Backbone, Boulder Falls and a natural rock bridge.

  Hiking this system of trails is a favorite activity because of the rock features, scenic overlooks, hidden springs and lush flora and fauna. there also is an old mill site in the Bell Smith Springs  Recreation area.

At a Glance                                                                                                                                  

Current Conditions: All areas are open
Operational Hours: Campground is open 3/15 - 12/15 - Bell Smith Springs Trail System is open All Year
Area Amenities: Drinking water
Fees Red Bud Campground - $10
Fees subject to change
Open Season: January - December
Usage: Light-Medium
Best Season: May-September
Busiest Season: May-September
Closest Towns: Vienna
Water: Red Bud Campground has drinking water
Restroom: Red Bud Campground has a Vault
Information Center: Surrounding Area: Burden Falls and Bay Creek Wildernesses, Teal Pond, Millstone Bluff Archaeological Site, Lake Glendale Recreation Area, Trigg Fire Tower, Jackson Hollow and River to River Trail.
Difficulty Level: Moderate – Difficult. To reach the canyon floor from the main trail, you must descend a stone stairway.
Swimming Hole Bells Smith Springs
Swimming Hole Bells Smith Springs

General Notes:

Length: 8 miles of interconnected hiker-only trails (Trail Map)General Area Trails – 1.5 miles
Sentry Bluff Trail – 3.2 miles
Mill Branch Trail – 2 miles
Natural Bridge Trail –1.5 miles

Redbud Campground has 21 Campsites


Red Bud Campground

From Harrisburg, take Route 145/34 south to Delwood. At Delwood, turn west on FR402. Take FR402 west 4 miles to junction FR447. Proceed south on FR447 past Teal Pond to FR848. Take FR848 two miles southwest to Bell Smith Springs


Trail Markings: General Area - White diamond
Sentry Bluff Trail - Blue diamond
Mill Branch Trail - Red diamond
Natural Bridge Trail - Yellow diamond

Trail Ethics: Pack It In, Pack It Out. Some rare and endangered species of plants are located in the area so please stay on the designated trails and leave the rocks and plants for others to enjoy. Horse Riders are not allowed on this trail system.