Friday, March 30

Sand Cave Trail

Continuing with our series, "Adventures With Uncle Bob-Guide to self-adventure in Southern Illinois", we feature Sand Cave Trail. This is a reprint of an article that fell off our former website. Directions: 1. From Marion, IL, go east on rt 13 to rt 166, turn right, go thru Creal Springs to US 45. Turn right, go to Ozark, IL, turn left and follow Ozark rd about 12 miles to a junction with Cedar Grove Church rd. Turn right. Shortly after the church, look for a green county sign "Sand Cave Lane." Go straight to its end at the forest (don't block that farm lane on the left). This is Shawnee National Forest. 2. Cedar Grove Church rd is also accessible from rt 147 from the south. GPS coordinates are 37 30' 00"N and 88 38' 51"W. Walk in until you see an unmarked trail on the right. This is an easy 0.5 mile trail along a cliff line. A fork appears later, go right, and come to this huge shelter cave sandwiched into the cliff line. It appears to be 500 ft deep, 100 ft wide, and 50 ft height.
While here, why not continue walking along the pretty horseshoe-shaped cliff canyon before returning to the car. Scroll down this blog to Peter Cave and Jackson Hole as they are in this proximity and make a day of of this expedition. Any questions, contact Bob Tyson 684-5643 or
12-3-12: Forest Service map shows trail 030 loop starting at Sand Cave. Two of us decided to check it out. It took 4 hrs. Coming in from the parking lot,take a left on an unmarked trail near the natural area sign. You will meet trail 035,turn left. This will junction with trail 030 loop. A left will afford a couple nice formations;Otherwise, go right to a huge shelter cave. Looks about 400 ft long,and 40 ft deep. Continue along smaller caves and a cliff canyon. Soon it veers left with a different cliff line on each turn. Eventually we meander thru woods and isolated cliffs. 030 sign disappeared at maxwell Ford: turn right and head uphill: 030 sign reappears.After a long ascent along cliffs, we turn left for a short distance on 032 and junction with River to River trail(001). Turn  left,go straight at a later major junction,and as we get closer to Cedar Grove Church Rd, a left turn for 030 reappears. now we head north along switchbacks, reach 035, take this back to the natural area sign,and back to the car. This loop was rocky,very few mudholes,and well constructed.

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