Bell Smith Springs – Eddyville, Illinois

Bell Smith Springs – Eddyville, Illinois is home to a rare phenomenon of interconnected, complete, functioning ecosystems. There are four creeks which come together in the canyon at Bell Smith Springs; and even when the creeks are parched there are a dozen ice-cold spring pools which never go dry. The unique hydrology of the canyon contributes to its vegetative diversity. There are over 700 species of plants which grow at Bell Smith Springs.

Bell Smith Springs is a an essential destination for anyone interested in native ecology and local history. It is designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Park Service, a Natural Area by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, and a recreation area by the U. S. Forest Service.

Although some of the animals that once lived in the area are gone the bobcat, turkey, deer, fox, a plethora of songbirds and other animals are still glimpsed at Bell Smith Springs.

Hiking, photography, swimming, picnicking, and a host of other low impact activities are enjoyed by visitors to Bell Smith Springs. Camping is leisurely in Red Bud Campground, situated just above the canyon. Hunting and fishing are allowed in season with a license.

Location: located just outside the village of Eddyville 


  1. zachary robinson says:

    I’m originally from Harrisburg Ill but have traveled all over the U.S. I’ve never come across a more beautiful place.
    As a child I remember my father taking to Bell Smith almost every weekend. The mystery of the woods always fascinated
    me. You never know what you might find while hiking through the woods or what type of wildlife you may stumble across. It
    is such a wonderful place. I am now thirty years old and have come back to the area so that I can share the mystery and wonder of this place with my children One of my hopes is that I may someday be able to work for the forestry commission out there

  2. This is one of my favorite places in Illinois. The greenish-blue color of the water in winter, the natural bridge, and devil’s backbone are just some of the features to take in.

  3. stephanie says:

    How do I get to the stairs cut into the hill? I’ll be coming from garden of the gods

  4. Dale B. Wilson says:

    I also am from Harrisburg Illinois. Myself and a group of old high school friends used to go to Bell Smith Springs for fun. I remember sliding down the rock slides while the water was flowing into pools of water at the bottom. This place is magical. I have not been there for years but I still remember all the great times I had there back in the early 70’s. The last time I was there was in 2008. I went there with some family members and we went swimming in one of the water hole areas. It is still as beautiful as ever and full of magic. I would Love to live in that area.