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children doing activities

SIU’s Touch of Nature is located in 3,100 acres of pristine forest on the shores of Little Grassy Lake. It is adjacent to Giant City State Park, the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge and the Shawnee National Forest. The famed River-to-River Trail crosses its southernmost border. Touch of Nature offers guests, students and groups several opportunities for outdoor recreation. Our trained staff will assist you in making your stay an adventure. Please contact Dena Haun at or call 618-453-1121 to discuss some of the activities that will enhance your outdoor experience at Touch of Nature.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Canoe fleet

Touch of Nature offers beach access to 1200 acre Little Grassy Lake. We have a large fleet of canoes and kayaks that can help you experience the beauty of one of the cleanest lakes in Illinois. A pontoon boat is also available. 

High Ropes Course

high ropes girl

Touch of Nature’s ACCT-certified high ropes course is three stories tall, consists of three levels and offers unique challenges for groups and individuals to stretch their comfort zones. The course offers an exhilarating experience where the “perceived risk” is much greater than the “actual risk.”

Zip Lines


We have two zip lines, one of which is a part of a high ropes course experience. The other is located in Camp 2.  As with the high ropes course, participants are always on belay and wearing safety gear.

Team Building Courses

team building wall

Touch of Nature has a ACCT-certified team building program. The Teams Courses are a series of powerful leadership and team building experiences designed to maximize individual and team potential while improving group interaction, efficiency and effectiveness. 

Rock Climbing

rock climbing at Giant City State Park

Touch of Nature serves as a base camp for groups and individuals to enjoy opportunities for world-class rock climbing in Southern Illinois. Located a few miles from such pristine sites as Giant City State Park and several sites in the Shawnee National Forest.

Climbing Wall

climbing wall

Our Climbing Wall is 30 feet tall and is composed of fiberglass/plastic material made to resemble and feel like real rock. The wall has lots of holds and different routes resulting in opportunities for beginner to more advanced climbers. The wall is portable and can moved around camp as needed. The climbing wall can also go offsite for special events. 


Rocky Ledges Trail

Touch of Nature’s trail system consists of four to five miles of dirt and paved walking/hiking trails.  One of our most beautiful sections of trail is the Rocky Ledges Trail which provides great views of Little Grassy Lake.