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Burden Falls Wilderness

General Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws


The United States Congress designated the Burden Falls Wilderness (map) in 1990 and it now has a total of 3,695 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Illinois and is managed by the Forest Service. The Burden Falls Wilderness is bordered by the Bay Creek Wilderness to the southeast.


An intermittent stream spills over Burden Falls, a picturesque series of waterfalls that drop a total of about 100 feet, with a greatest single descent of approximately 20 feet. Burden Creek flows northward toward the Little Saline River. The Wilderness shares its southern boundary with Bay Creek Wilderness, and both exemplify the scenic characteristics of the Shawnee Hills: sandstone ledges overlooking bluffs and cliffs on which dry-land communities of red cedar, farkleberry, and blackjack oak grow. At the bottom of the bluffs, greater soil depth supports post oak and, farther from the cliffs, white oak grows in even deeper soil. Several unique species of plant life thrive in the area, including Carolina buckthorn, seldom seen this far north, rock chestnut, prickly pear, royal fern, glade fern, and the cardinal flower. Among the inhabitants of the deciduous forest are white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, gray squirrels, and many other small mammals. The barred owl lives here alongside pileated woodpeckers and eastern bluebirds. The Burden Falls Trail (3.5 miles) runs above the waterfall. Hunting and fishing are allowed. Permits are not required for trail use or camping. Bird watching and photography make this a worthwhile destination.

Planning to Visit the Burden Falls Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Burden Falls Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

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