Friday, May 25

Eagle Mountain Scenic Area

This is a further installment of the on-going series: "Adventures with Uncle Bob-Guide to Outdoor Recreation Opportunites in Southern Illinois".

A Hiking Guide to Eagle Mountain

This area is bisected by the Crest Trail which starts at Glen O.Jones Lake and ends near Old Stoneface. Directions: Take rt 145 from Harrisburg and turn at the sign for Glen O. Jones Lake. You will travel approx 6 miles until the road comes to a "T" intersection. Go right and look for the next road on your left (the sign is turned the wrong way: It should say Eagle Mountain Road). Follow this steep switchback road until it levels off. Look for a boulder along the road surrounded by two trails forming a "V" shape. Either park along the road or travel another 100 yards to a primitive campsite parking area. (see for a partial description of Crest Trail).

At the boulder, take the left trail and soon come to a beautiful boulder-strewn area. The brush between boulders impede an in-depth exploration; However, it is easy to climb up for overlooks. The trail continues steeply downhill and comes to a junction near a long cliff line. Go left to follow a faint trail along the base of this interesting cliff line until the brush gets thick. Return to the junction, go straight ahead, and look for two ribbons on a tree. Turn left and follow the yellow marker leading to the rim trail.

Walking along the rim trail, 75 ft above the valley floor, affords numerous overlooks on the left. Another layer of cliff line (about 20 ft high) is on your right. The line tapers off at some point and I return to the trail junction at the base. If you get confused on which of the three trails return to the top and your car, look for the one with the yellow natural area signs. I have found no brochures for this area. You may want to avoid this road in the event of winter ice, or after heavy rains.

Crest trail has fallen off the above website. This trail is rugged and at least 6 miles. From the Indian statue point of embarkment, we have overlooks over the valley at times. near Eagle Mountain, we are walking along a double-decker cliff line with the trail between both. After crossing Eagle Mountain road, the trail has a nice cliff line for a while, goes thru woods, and arrive at a confusing junction. Turn left and walk a ways to go thru a power line crossing, descend over rocky terrain, and finally end up on a pretty rim trail as you arrive at Old Stoneface.

More info from Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or John O'Dell at 252-6789. The GPS coordinates are N37.669867 and W 88.436112.

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