Williams Hill Pass OHV Park: Our First Cabin Experience

We have tent camped, truck camped and stayed in a pop up, but we had never stayed in a cabin. There’s something about the idea of snuggling up in a tiny house in the woods that is exciting. It’s definitely more appealing to me than pitching a tent and sleeping on the hard ground. It’s roomier than the back of our truck would ever be. And it’s more private and stress-free than setting up and taking down a pop up camper. So what was our first experience staying in a cabin like?

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Porch on Large Cabin, Williams Hill Pass OHV Park

Williams Hill Pass OHV Park in Southern Illinois

williams-hill-pass-ohv-park-cabin/ Meta description preview: Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Williams Hill Pass OHV Park

Let’s start with where we are. We finally made it to Southern Illinois, a Midwest hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts. Williams Hill Pass Campground and OHV Park is in the perfect location for exploring the area. It is located in Harrisburg within the boundaries of the beautiful Shawnee National Forest. Minutes away you will find must-see points of interest in Shawnee: Garden of the Gods, Pounds Hollow Recreation Area, Rim Rock National Recreation Trail, Bell Smith Springs Recreation Area, Burden Falls, and Horseshoe Upheaval. Lodging options include primitive tent camping, cabin rentals, or electric hookup spots for RV’s or motorhomes.

Read about our weekend exploring Shawnee National Forest HERE

Shawnee National Forest Cabins
Welcome Center and Clubhouse
Shawnee National Forest Cabins
Patio overlooking the pond

Did we just go glamping?

We refer to truck camping as tramping so I’m familiar with the term glamping – glamorous camping – as well. But I’m not really sure there’s an exact definition for it. To those who only tent camp, it’s probably anything a step above that. To those who never camp, it’s probably an additional few steps with luxury amenities. I’ll let you decide. Did we just go glamping?

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Large Cabin at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park

Our Cabin Experience

I’ve been wanting to visit Southern Illinois for a few years now. I read about the unusual rock formations, rolling hills, rugged bluffs and fantastic hiking. It was a sunny winter day as we pull up to our home for the weekend and the first thing I notice is the porch swing. A porch swing… YES!

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Large Cabin at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park

We open the door to find the first floor simple, but charming. Oh yea, our cabin has two floors! Roosters and country landscapes adorn the walls and furniture. We both agree we immediately feel a comfortable and homey sensation in the cozy cabin.

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Inside Large Cabin at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park
Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Inside Large Cabin at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park

The large cabin can sleep up to eleven with one full size bed and single bed downstairs and four queen size mattresses upstairs.

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Inside Large Cabin at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park
Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Inside Large Cabin at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park

Our cabin is equipped with electric, heating – don’t let that sun fool you, we needed the heat the first few nights – and air conditioning. In true camping fashion, the cabins do not have running water or a bathroom. Attached to the clubhouse are two separate bathrooms with a sink, toilets and two showers.

I’m thinking the fact that we have walls, a roof, electric, heat and air our weekend in the cabin would indeed be considered glamping. What do you think?

A Good Night’s Sleep

Silence is golden, they say. Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom, they say. Let silence take you to the core of life, they say. I don’t know if it was the time of year or the relatively remote location, but I had the best few nights of sleep that I’ve had in a long time in the midst of the stillness that is nature.

Cabin Options at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park

You can choose between a small, medium, or large cabin. We stayed in the large cabin (discussed above). All have tables, heat, air conditioning and electricity indoors with a picnic table, fire ring and cooking grate outdoors.

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Small Cabin at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park

The small cabins sleep four people with a full size bed and bunk bed. The quaint quarters are perfect for a romantic getaway or get-back-to-nature family trip.

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Inside small cabin at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park
Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Inside small cabin at Williams Hill Pass

The medium size cabins have a queen bed and a bunk with a full-size and single bed. This one even has a screened in porch which is fantastic for summer months when the bugs are out.

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.
Medium Cabin at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park

Shawnee National Forest Cabins

Off-Roading at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park

Williams Hill Pass OHV Park is situated on 225 acres, an ideal location for outdoor activities They offer off-highway vehicle riding opportunities for ATV’s, dirt bikes, and side-by-sides. It has forest trails, aggressive trails, children’s tracks, a mud pit and they host racing events throughout the entire summer.

Check out a cool video of the trails at Williams Hill Pass and the surrounding area HERE

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.

We hopped on a side-by-side with the owner to tour the property and it was so much fun! We zipped through trees, dodged incoming branches, and climbed over rocks. Williams Hill Pass is on a gorgeous piece of property with a gentle waterfall, a tiny cemetery with a tombstone dating back to 1901, wooded trails, and rugged bluffs.

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.

Final Thoughts on Staying in a Cabin

We enjoyed our stay in the cabin at Williams Hill Pass OHV Park. We loved the tranquility of being off the beaten path, the staff is exceptionally friendly and hospitable, and the area is incredibly beautiful. We are already talking about when we can make it back to explore more!

Tips for Staying in any Cabin

Be Prepared. Find out what the cabin is and isn’t equipped with. You may need or want to bring:

  • Your own linens and towels
  • Silverware, plates, paper towels
  • Barbecue / kitchen utensils
  • Tablecloth for picnic table
  • Wine and/or bottle opener
  • A fan or white noise maker (can always download a free phone app) if you cannot sleep in silence
  • Flashlight for walking around at night
  • Layers of clothing, rain coat, and hiking boots
  • Bug Spray and sunscreen

Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.

Know Before You Go – Visiting Williams Hill Pass

  • The entrance road is not paved with a relatively steep hill
  • Firewood available
  • Convenience store is located minutes away from the campground
  • OHV vehicles are not available for rent
  • Ride at your own risk

Williams Hill Pass OHV Park

Address: 1935 Peak Road, Harrisburg, IL

Phone Numbers: 618-252-6978 or 618-525-6061

Email Address: williamshillpass@wildblue.net

Be Part of the Adventure.

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*Disclaimer: Thank you Williams Hill Pass and Southernmost Illinois Tourism Board for providing us with lodging for the weekend. All words and opinions, however, are my own.*

Have you ever stayed in a cabin before? What was your experience like? Tell us in the comments below!

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Looking for lodging in Southern Illinois near Shawnee National Forest? Williams Hill Pass OHV Park offers camp sites, cabins and electric hookup spots.

28 Responses

  1. How have you never stayed in a cabin? Fascinating! Cabin camping was a big part of my childhood, although now I’m partial to either full-on camping or going for a nice hotel, but these look like a fun home base for local hikes.

    • LOL I know, right?! I’m not sure how we’ve never stayed in a cabin either. When we were both kids, we tent camped and as we got older friends and families bought campers so we never stayed in a cabin. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cabin experience!

  2. Elizabeth

    That’s not far from my cabin! But this is not “glamping.” I’d call that tent camping with wooden walls. LOL My cabin has an indoor bathroom, electricity, air conditioning….now THAT’S glamping! LOL I’m down the road off route 34. If I’m there next time you’re in the area, give me a holler! I’d be happy to show you around! So glad you found our little piece of paradise! I love your blogs! Happy travels and trails!

  3. Timothy Marquis

    Angela, I love all your post.

  4. Great blog post. Thanks for visiting the area.

  5. I would love to have a cabin like this one, David and Angela! It seems cozy, relaxing, and marvelous!

  6. Thanks for sharing this great post. I’ve always wanted to have a cabin stay somewhere, the word cabin just sounds so great and cozy.

  7. Tramping actually means hiking in New Zealand! Although i quite like your definition of it 🙂

  8. You’re so right. Cabin camping is such a cozy way to enjoy the outdoors. I think cabin camping is like the gateway to tent camping. I would also have gotten way excited about the porch swing. I’ve always wanted to sit on one and watch a thunderstorm. The only thing that would have made the cabin better would have been an indoor wood-burning fireplace.

  9. Cabins are awesome! I just stayed in one in India near the foothills of the Himalyas. Ah-may-zing!

  10. I can’t believe you guys haven’t been in a log cabin before !!! So great that you got to and it looks amazing. I would definitely agree with it being a touch of glamping too!! I’ve stayed in log cabins in Australia before, but staying in a log cabin in the US is something I still really want to do (blame the movies for that 🙂 ).

  11. I would love to stay in a cabin like this. We used to stay in cabins on family trips as a kid and this reminds me of a nicer version of those cabins. It looks great!

  12. These cabins looks so homey and cozy. I like trying different places such as tent camping or staying in a cabin. I haven’t tried glamping yet. I do want to try staying in a yurt, have you heard of yurt? Anyway I’ve stayed in cabin before and I love it especially with my family. It’s so nice to spend time in front of a fireplace and having a full kitchen as well. Glad you had a positive experience!

    • Yes, I’ve heard of yurts and want to try that as well. It sounds like a unique experience. Having a fireplace and full kitchen would be great. Although on this trip, we spent a lot of time exploring the area so it wasn’t necessary for us.

  13. I am from Colorado so we always stayed in little cabins in the woods, when I was a kid and now with my kids – i think it is an awesome experience. Its not quite camping but the same type of feeling. These little places are really cute and my family would love to stay here!

  14. WOW that look right up my alley! Beautiful. But I didn’t even know white noise makers are a thing…? Who on Earth can’t sleep in silence?!?!?

  15. Cabin-camping is great! I also did it, and I prefer it when it’s too cold outside for actual camping. Also it’s neat because you have more space to spread your things.
    It’s also nice when it’s raining heavily and you can just enjoy the cabin and a good book!

  16. I think cabins get a bad rap because of all of those hollywood movies, but this looks perfect!
    It doesnt getting ant better than listening to the sound of rain from the inside of a cozy cabin!

  17. Chaney Chambers

    We are taking our sxs for our first trip to Williams Hill tomorrow. Do we need to oack a cooler with food or is there a store nearby? Does the firepit have a surface for grilling chicken or burgers? Or just take sticks for smores and hot digs?

    • Hi Chaney! There is a convenience store nearby but if you’re looking for meat to grill etc I would either bring it or stop in Harrisburg on the way in. Yes, the firepits have a surface for grilling just need to bring utensils. Have fun! Hopefully you get clear skies!!

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