St. Louis: Panther Den Loop

Explore ridges, evergreen forests, and odd rock formations on this 4.3-mile dayhike through the smallest wilderness in Shawnee National Forest.
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Explore ridges, evergreen forests, and odd rock formations on this 4.3-mile dayhike through the smallest wilderness in Shawnee National Forest.

Mapped by John Trilik

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 6.7

Waypoints

PDL001

Location: 37.5714797973633, -89.0889739990234

Head N on spur trail (marked with white diamonds with a red dot)

PDL002

Location: 37.5751838684082, -89.0885009765625

Turn L @ 3-way, swinging E

PDL003

Location: 37.5751533508301, -89.0790710449219

L @ 3-way; head to top of ridgeline, then trace it N

PDL004

Location: 37.5781936645508, -89.0800247192383

Lemon-squeeze yourself between two rock faces

PDL005

Location: 37.5859527587891, -89.0800018310547

L @ 3-way. Head W for brief stint on the River-to-River Trail (RTR), a 146-mile route from the Ohio River to the mighty Mississippi

PDL006

Location: 37.5865364074707, -89.0826263427734

R @ 3-way. Wind N above creekbed, staying on the RTR

PDL007

Location: 37.5881729125977, -89.0823745727539

Caves—everywhere—on W wall. These overhung areas were used as shelters for centuries. This is a prime reason why Panther Den Wilderness was preserved in 1990, despite its tiny size (only 1,195 acres)

PDL008

Location: 37.5900230407715, -89.0811538696289

Panther Den: Enter the namesake rock formation in this park where unconfirmed echoes of panther growls have similar mythic status as Bigfoot does in the Pacific Northwest

PDL009

Location: 37.5944366455078, -89.0850296020508

L @ 3-way. Head NE up the ridge. Follow the trail as it curves up and around to the SW. Pine trees grace the ridgeline

PDL010

Location: 37.5857200622559, -89.0885696411133

L @ 3-way. Rejoin the county road and head S back to trailhead

Waterfall

Location: 37.589771270752, -89.0810699462891

©Dan Sheehan

Rock Formations

Location: 37.5904388427734, -89.0811614990234

©Dan Sheehan

Trail to Panther Den

Location: 37.5895462036133, -89.0818710327148

©Dan Sheehan

Small canyon

Location: 37.5781936645508, -89.0800857543945

©Dan Sheehan