Thursday, December 27

High Knob Trail

Continuing with our monthly series, "Adventures with Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois," we highlight High Knob Trail. From Harrisburg, follow Rt 145 to Rt 34. 3 miles south of Herod, look for Karber Ridge Road. At the settlement of Karber Ridge, look for a small sign to High Knob. After a few miles, turn right at the horse ranch (note that the River to River Trail crosses the road to head toward Garden of the Gods). This rocky road climbs steadily to the viewpoint parking lot. Picnic tables and restrooms are noted.

Walk back down the road and find the blue markers for the loop trail. The first one is on the left(east). I walked a little further to the next marker and commenced the trail. I estimate the loop at 1.5-2.0 miles. This spectacular trail runs continually in a circular fashion along the base of cliffs. Prominent features include shelter bluffs, many slot canyons, small caves, rock formations, and unique patterns in the rock. The terrain is rocky but relatively level; Some places have descending stone steps, as well as a small wood staircase. The midway point even has a rough-hewn picnic table. Trash cans are along the route. Near the end, there is a steep ascent for 100 ft thru a narrow stone staircase between boulders.Before ascending,I hope you noted a cave which enables you to walk in 30-40 ft. Bring a flashlight.

In the parking area, note the blue markers going north from the restroom. This path accomodates those who only want to do part of the loop. As you drive back downhill, note two other trails which head east (one is the River to River Trail to Camp Cadiz). Both are a sea of mud due to horse traffic. The River to River Trail is running parallel to the road as we drive by the horse ranch. High Knob is briefly mentioned in the book, Fifty Nature Walks in Southern Illinois. More info from Bob Tyson at 684-5643. GPS coordinates are 37 36' 0.01"N and 88 19' 41.70"W october,2011: while talking to the owners of High Knob campground at the bottom,we are advised that new cabins are available for hikers and riders. Call 618-275-4494. this horse ranch sits on the River To River trail as well as High Knob trail, Rice Hollow trail and many others. The road up to High Knob sometimes is closed without notice. You can call that number to see if open or closed before making a long trip; Don't count on Forest Service staff to know.