Friday, June 22

Cave Valley Trail

As part of our on-going series:"Adventures with Uncle Bob-Your Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois", we turn our attention to Cave Valley Trail.

Directions: Take Rt 127 south from Murphysboro. Turn at the sign near Pomona for Natural Bridge. While traveling the gravel road north toward the bridge, look for a Forest Service gate and parking area on the right before ascending the steep hill. This trail is an old level-grade forest road. At approx 0.5 mile on the trail, look for an ATV spur trail on the left which will climb steeply to a line of cliff walls. Follow the unmarked trail either direction at the top until it deadends. There are nice views of the valley during leaf-off. Back on the roadbed trail, we are soon looking down into a marsh or wetlands(depending on rainfall) on both sides of the trail, as far as the eye can see. This is a natural area for non-game birds and protected as a nesting preserve. The next point of interest along the way is a marked spur trail which will take you to a large wildlife pond.
Our 1.5 mile trail ends at a wide eroded creek. One could continue across the creek on a trail if you don't mind getting wet. Re-trace the route back to the car. Views of the cliff line from the trail are better on a sunny day during leaf-off. The only detailed information on Cave Valley consists of one page in the Shawnee National Forest DEIS proposal book.

While here, why not continue up the road to Pomona Natural Bridge. The object is viewed from a short walk down steps from its parking lot. The span is 90 ft, 25 ft height, and 10 ft thick. The best photo can be viewed at The GPS coordinates at Cave Valley are 89 20' 37.39"W and 37 38' 27.21"N.

For any questions, contact Bob Tyson at 684-5643.

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