Wednesday, October 24

Cedar Creek Wonders

Continuing with our monthly series, "Adventures With Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois," we feature Cedar Creek Wonders in Shawnee National Forest (this unofficial trail is not on the forest map). Directions: From Tunnel Hill village, go south, cross US 45, and continue straight ahead (Mt Gilead Rd) for approx 6 miles. Just past the church, turn left on Gum Springs Rd. Travel about 2-3 miles to a concrete bridge and note the parking area on the left. Cedar Creek divides the canyon. Take the user-made, half mile trail on your right (north).

We follow a pretty continuous cliff line along with 3 shelter bluffs. Note the solid yellow buffalo petroglyph along the last shelter bluff. The trail seems to end at a huge boulder. It would take a strenuous effort to overcome this obstacle. Upon re-tracing my route back to the car, note a faint trail which can take one to the top of the cliff line for a view over the canyon during leaf-off.

The River to River Trail crosses this area. I followed it west on the south side of the creek for over a mile but no prominent features were noted. It will come out again on Gum Springs Rd about 3 miles further north. I also followed it east from the parking area. There is an unmarked junction after a quarter mile: turn right, cross a bridge, and ascend uphill. No prominent features were noted after a couple miles. A future article will describe another trail in Cedar Wonders which also includes a free-standing natural bridge.

More info from Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or John O'Dell at 252-6789
Photo courtesy of the River2River hiking group. See more photos of this scenic area at

2/12/2012: learned something new. The river to river trail continues east across the road and then ascends uphill on the right; However, if you continue straight ahead on an old railbed, Hogg Bluff awaits. As we walk for a mile and view distant cliff lines, we come to an isolated knob partially surrounded by a creek and a pretty semi-circle cliff line. Bushwhack along this line or ascend the knob for a great view. I am told this railbed will go to Cedar Falls at Camp Ondessonk. One can also get off here and follow south on a user-made trail along ravines and frequent cliff lines to the same falls;However, this involves frequent creek crossings. I also note that people can take US 45 from Harrisburg to Ozark General store, go another 1/2 mile and turn on Gum Ridge Rd to the trail parking area.the coordinates for hogg bluff are n37.29.742 and w88.45.467.


Stewart said...

It was your great adventure, wasn't it? You had many challenges. I am being curious to know the picture of place you were getting the adventure.

Alvaro said...

It's so beautiful place! Looks like you've experienced an amazing experience. I am sure to be able to get to this place is not easy. And I'm sure you will definitely get a lot of challenges. But if I was you, all the challenges and difficulties this will not mean anything because I could see the stunning scenery of this place. I want to this place someday.