Camp Ondessonk



Between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in Southern Illinois lies the Shawnee National Forest, a hidden treasure of river canyons, rock formations, waterfalls, and deep cypress swamps. This natural wonder encompasses 277,000 acres and five ecological niches, creating one of the most diverse habitats in North America. For Road Scholars, the portal to sharing adventures here is Camp Ondessonk, an amazing facility founded in 1959 by the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Illinois. Camp Ondessonk encompasses 983 acres of hills, forest, canyons, pastures and waterfalls adjacent to the Shawnee National Forest, and its programs introduce youth and adults to horseback riding, hiking, boating and more.


Surrounded by woods and pastures, the recently renovated St. Noel Center is a guest facility at Camp Ondessonk that welcomes Road Scholars for active days and relaxed evenings centered on learning and friendship. Each of the roomy guest quarters includes a queen bed plus a set of bunks, desk, reading lamps and full private bathroom. Some rooms have a small balcony or cozy fireplace.


This lovely Retreat offers ample opportunities for personal relaxation and exercise during free time. The amenities include a reading lounge, meeting and dining area, inviting fireplace gathering space, a deck with restful views over pastures, and access to the camp’s network of hiking and biking trails.

Good to Know
  • Free Wi-Fi.
  • Kitchenette available for guest use.
  • Housekeeping once a week.


The Retreat Difference  |  The unique experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for light morning exercise, meeting a community member for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a single room to yourself for only $100 more. 


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