If you love driving the scenic route, take State-127 between Murphysboro and Jonesboro in southern Illinois. In just 25 miles, you'll cross the Big Muddy River and cut through a rolling region that includes the Shawnee National Forest and Trail of Tears State Forest, plus acres of fertile land turned into orchards and vineyards.

January 29, 2020

What to Do

On the Pomona Natural Bridge Trail in the Shawnee National Forest, cross a 90-foot sandstone span formed by erosion.

Pomona Natural Bridge
| Credit: Paul Nordmann

Hike a 3-mile trail (especially beautiful in spring and fall) to overlooks more than 300 feet above the canyon floor at the Little Grand Canyon in the Shawnee National Forest.

Marvel at the 111-foot-tall Bald Knob Cross of Peace overlooking the Shawnee National Forest near Alto Pass.

Bald Knob Cross of Peace
| Credit: Illinois Office of Tourism

Rolling hills and woods frame Lake Murphysboro State Park, where you can boat, fish, camp, picnic and hike. More outdoor adventure awaits at Trail of Tears State Forest.

Murphysboro's beer heritage dates back more than a century. Celebrate it at local breweries and festivals such as the Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest (in fall).

Where to Eat

Art, music and even yoga go with wine at Alto Vineyards in Alto Pass. Check out views from the rooftop Vine Deck.

Alto Vineyards
| Credit: John Noltner

A restored barn from the site’s peach-growing days houses Hedman Vineyards and Winery in Alto Pass.

The modest exterior of 17th Street BBQ in Murphysboro hides nationally bragged-about smoked-meat fare by legendary pitmaster Mike Mills.

17th Street BBQ
| Credit: Ken Goodman

You’ll find both Cabernet Sauvignon and Chocolate Milk Stout at Von Jakob Winery and Brewery in Alto Pass.

Von Jakob Winery and Brewery
| Credit: Courtesy of Von Jakob Vineyard

Sample the region’s craft beers, wine and spirits (even moonshine) at Brews Brothers Taproom in Murphysboro.

Big Muddy Brewing in Murphysboro supplies its craft beers to area bars and stores. Make reservations to sample tastes in the taproom.

Where to Stay

Relax in vintage elegance and modern comfort at the 1887 Historic Hull House Inn in Murphysboro.

For a classy stay, enroll at the Davie School Inn, a 1910 schoolhouse- turned-B&B. Each suite has a whirlpool and kitchenette.

Davie School Inn
| Credit: John Noltner