Home IL River Pirates Hideout – Cave In Rock, Illinois

River Pirates Hideout – Cave In Rock, Illinois

by Richie

cave in rock

Cave-In-Rock is a cavern alongside the banks of the Ohio River in Southern Illinois. It’s also a state park and tiny village.



We’re always looking for someplace new to explore. Cave-In-Rock has been on my list for a while.

The tiny village of Cave-In-Rock is a couple of streets wide, but a popular destination. Everybody wants to see the cave.

The State Park dominates the town. It has a swell restaurant, cabins overlooking the river, and a pretty little campground.

The other big business in town is the ferry to the Kentucky side of the river.

cave in rock

But of course, you come here to see Cave In Rock. A walk down a steep stone staircase takes you to the banks of the river. A couple hundred years ago this was the infamous hideout for bandits and river pirates who preyed on unlucky travelers coming down the river on rafts.

cave in rock

Cave In Rock was featured in the movie How The West Was Won, where a hapless Jimmy Stewart (approx. age 104) gets robbed and falls in love with an orphaned pioneer girl (approx. age 14). It’s an uncool theme these days, but a realistic portrayal of the river bandits.

We camped at the state park a couple of nights which gave me an opportunity to explore the back alleys of town. It’s always a little different than what you see from main street.

Time to head home on the ferry. Free ride to the Kentucky side.

Southern Illinois looks promising for more camping trips. We’ll be back.



Beth Daniels May 21, 2023 - 11:21 pm

Dating myself here, but in one of the 1950s Davy Crockett episodes from the Disney series with Fess Parker as Davy, he and his friend Russell get involved with river pirates holed up in Hole in Rock, too. I think it was Mike Fink, who I was surprised to find in History class years later was a real person. Amazing that a town of 350 (to go by the sign) has a police department. Guess it’s those rowdy tourists that need to be controlled. 🙂

Richie May 22, 2023 - 9:17 am

Ah! That’s why there were Fess Parker photos in the restaurant.

Lois May 21, 2023 - 2:33 pm

Looks wonderful. You may have just scratched the surface. More to come?

Zena May 21, 2023 - 12:10 pm

Love this!


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