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On The Trail: Bell Smith Springs in the Shawnee National Forest

OZARK (WSIL) — We’re back “On The Trail” this week checking out another hidden gem right here in Southern Illinois.

This week on the trail we’re hiking back into the Shawnee National Forest for another fan favorite, Bell Smith Springs, and we’re not hiking alone. We got to tag along with Touch of Nature’s Southern Adventures summer camp and the camp’s theme was leave no trace.  

Raymond Bieri, Environmental Educator for Touch of Nature, says it’s important to teach proper outdoor ethics in order to protect the environment. 

Bieri says, “This principal is all about leaving what you find, leaving our natural ecosystems intact and our natural history.”

When hiking to the springs don’t forget to stop and look around because there’s a lot to see along the way.

Bieri explains, “When you look at the rock, you can see how the sediment, it’s very wavy looking so you can tell that was deposited by water from that sea. It’s really cool, it’s just like looking back in time, except several million years. Under this sandstone is limestone and that was formed by the shells of ancient sea creatures.”

Following a beautiful hike, the springs offer the perfect place to relax and cool off. After a thorough safety check some of the campers even decided to jump in and it looked too fun to pass up even if it meant wet clothes. If you don’t plan on braving the cold water it’s still worth the hike.  

For more information on Touch of Nature and their summer camps click here.

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