Wednesday, August 22

Buzzard Point

Continuing with our on-going series," Adventures With Uncle Bob - Your Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois", we feature Buzzard Point. This is part of the Garden of Gods Wilderness Area (scroll this page index to Trail #112, as well as visit

Directions: take Rt 145 from Harrisburg to Rt 34 and follow thru Herod. South of town, turn onto Karber Ridge Road. Turn at the Garden of Gods sign. Instead of turning into the main area, continue north on the switchback county road until you see the River to River trail crossing. Park on the gravel shoulder. You are now hiking east on that trail. This will travel approx 3 miles to another parking spot on High Knob Road. The first mile is scenic, and then becomes unspectacular until near the end. Expect to dodge mudholes due to horse damage.

Upon hiking about 0.3 mile on the trail, look to the cliff line on the left. Follow along this user-made spur trail to visit several slot canyons and scenic formations. This trail is obliterated when a large rock shelter comes into view. You may want to bushwhack further along the cliffs to reach a nice natural bridge (go behind the bridge and climb up to the top of the cliff line to reach Buzzard Roost: nice overlook over the area). Come back to the main trail and continue along the cliff line to Buzzard Point lookout. While taking in this magnificent view, note two nearby spur trails on the left: one climbs rocky ledges (Buzzard Roost sign) and travels thru a pine forest to reach the stone glade roost. The other is horse trail #110. The Forest Service has changed this to Trail #158 on the new map. This latter trail runs at least one mile along a scenic cliff line and beautiful rock formations.

At some point, the cliff line seems to disappear and the trail is not easily discernable. I know it is supposed to eventually reach Rice Hollow, as I have seen its junction from Trail #137 in the hollow. We will re-trace our route back to the River to River main trail. Go right to return to the car, or go left and follow the trail to your car shuttle on High Knob Road.

As to setting up your car shuttle here, just continue about 50 ft past the horse camp and look to the left for a gravel forest road which will descend to the parking lot. Buzzard Point highline GPS 37 36' 02:N and 88 21' 33"W.  The Buzzard Roost, however shows 88 37'  48"W.

For more information, contact Bob Tyson at 684-5643.

Burden Falls

In our on-going series: "Adventures With Uncle Bob - Your Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois," we offer an update on Burden Falls. Directions: From Marion, go east to Rt 166 and follow this road thru Creal Springs to US 45. Turn right, and go to Ozark. Turn left and follow the brown Bell Smith Springs signs. After several miles, there is a junction: the right fork points to Bell Smith Springs, and the left to Rt 145. You want to go left. There used to be a Burden Falls sign.

Upon parking at the falls, walk across the stone glade and locate a rim trail on the east side of the canyon. This trail will deadend at approx 0.3 mile. Look down upon a raised boulder which has a hole underneath it. Crawl thru this hole and easily descend to the bottom of the falls. The previous article took the hiker along the west rim trail for some distance before descending to follow the rugged base trail to the falls.  4-6-13: on the east rim trail, boulder is gone. just walk about 60 ft after crossing the rock glade and look over the rim for a user-made path which will switchback to the bottom. As to the rim trail on west side: you will walk about 0.3 mile before th cliff line ends and easily descend.
We discovered a new place in this Burden Falls Wilderness known as Caney Branch Ecological Area. From the waterfall, go east to the 2nd parking access area on this road (gps N37.5859 and W88.6420). Commence the trail and go north almost a mile. Look for an unmarked trail on the right. While not always easy to follow,keep descending until the cliff line is visible on the left. Now bushwhack along this line and note the unusual patterns in the rock surfaces. Later we make a steep descent into a canyon valley. let's cross the creek on stepping stones and another long interesting cliff line appears and seems to go on forever heading east. note the cliff in front of us is tilted at 30 degree angle due to glacial uplift. Upon returning to the parking lot,you may be able to avoid that steep climb back up the cliff line by following the creekbed while keeping you eyes on the cliff line.

For any questions, contact Bob Tyson at 684-5643. This wilderness area was previously featured at: coodinates 37 33' 48.49"N and 88 38' 32.62:W