Wednesday, April 9

Rice Hollow Trail

Continuing with our monthly series, "Adventures with Uncle Bob-Guide to Outdoor Recreation in Southern Illinois," we feature Rice Hollow Trail.

Directions: Travel south from Herod, Ill on Rt 34 to Karber Ridge Road. Turn left and follow to the town of Karber Ridge and note the turnoff sign for High Knob Recreation Area. Follow High Knob Road, continuing past the horse ranch, and look for the Rice Hollow sign at the bottom of the hill. Turn onto this lane and park where possible without impeding traffic from a farm further up the lane. The sign says trail #137 and also horse trail #109. Upon inquiry with the Forest Service as to why several trails have dual numbers or why trail numbers do not match what is printed on the maps, I have yet to receive a clear answer.

The first 0.2 mile is deeply rutted due to horse traffic during damp weather; however, the problem eventually becomes diminished. A long pretty cliff line appears and stays with the hiker for the next 1.5 mile. We encounter overhanging blufftops, slot canyons, and two caves behind cliff columns (see picture above right). There have been no further trail markers but the tread is obvious. As the trail descends, we now have cliff lines on both sides of the trail. The trail will cross a narrow creek several times but stepping stones are plentiful. Eventually, both cliff lines converge to a width of 30 ft and we cannot easily continue.

As I start re-tracing the route, an unmarked trail to the right is noted. Soon into this trail, a pretty cliff line appears. The shelter bluff is estimated at 80 ft in length. The next feature is an odd shaped boulder. Continuing further, there is a sign saying you are on horse trail #110 (see picture, above left). This would eventually end at Buzzard Roost on the River to River Trail (#001A). This becomes steep and hard to discern at some point. Rice Hollow is also supposed to be accessible from off #001A going west from High Knob trailhead but that spur trail is hard to follow. I continued to re-trace my route back to the car.I cannot find coordinates on this location, however the ones for the nearby horse camp is 37 36'0N and 88 20' 0"W

There appears to be no publications on Rice Hollow Trail. You may not want to do this one in early spring when creek levels are up. For further information contact Bob Tyson at 684-5643, or John O'Dell at 252-6789 (River to River Trail Society) 10/01/2011: that unmarked spur is the second left turn-don't turn on 137 or 137a. the shelter cave is known as robbers cave.

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