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.

1 comment:

Bob Tyson said...

On this spur trail,during a Sierra hike last year,we found out that at the end of the cliff line,just bushwhack uphill a short distance and you will find a defined trail. Continue on this to Buzzard Roost and its fantastic views. From there continue downhill until you reach the river to river trail junction. This will save you from backtracking.