Friday, May 4

Swayne Hollow Nature Preserve

Swayne Hollow

This is a further installment of the on-going series: "Adventures with Uncle Bob - Guide to Outdoor Recreation Opportunities in Southern Illinois."

A Hiking Guide to Swayne Hollow (8 acres)

This public area was acquired in November 2006 by the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission. It is 0.5 mile from the Piney Woods Ravine Nature Preserve (see the November 2001 Shawnee Trails newsletter for that hike). The trail is not yet signed, but I did an explore it last December.

Directions from Murphysboro: Take RT 149 to Rt 3. Turn right and travel approx 15 miles to Hog Hill RD (brown sign). This pretty road will soon become Rock Crusher Road. Follow the brown signs to Piney Woods. Upon arrival, by-pass the parking area and continue another half mile to the tree line. I parked along the road and followed an old path downhill to view a stream flowing under a pretty boulder area. The path seemed to vanish at some point. Returning to the car, I drove a short distance to the opening across from an abandoned barn. An ATV path went steeply downhill to the confluence of two creek beds where I viewed a long pretty cliff line and rock formations. There was no way to cross the creeks and follow the rest of the cliff line which veered in a southward direction. I continued west on the user-made trail which afforded overlooks of a creek bed, surrounded by a rock canyon on both sides. Either re-trace your route back to the car or walk uphill to an open field. Turn right and ascend back to the county road. Turn right on that road and walk less than 0.3 mile back to the car.

The Illinois Nature Preserve Commission's mission is to protect the Shining Club Moss, Ground Pine, Chokeberry and Cinnamon Fern species, as well as the aforermentioned geological scenery. No maps are available to the general public (except the one sent to me by the local contact person). For those with compass or GPS, look for USGS topographical map Welge 7.5 minute Quadrangle, Swayne Hollow, Randolph County. For more information, contact Bob Tyson at 618-684-5643 or Judy Dempsey at 687-1169.

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