Monday, April 16

Little Grand Canyon

Continuing with our series, "Adventures With Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois, " we feature Little Grand Canyon in Shawnee National Forest. Directions: From Murphysboro, IL, take 20th St. south from town and look for the brown sign at the top of the hill. Turn left onto Hickory Ridge Rd and proceed about 8 miles to a 4-way stop. Turn right and continue approx 3 miles to the entrance and parking lot. GPS 37 40' 49.64"N and 89 23' 41.49"W. This is a 4 mile rugged loop trail. I suggest starting on the west trail segment.
We hike along a rim trail overlooking deep ravines on both sides. Just before the final descent: great overlooks over farms and adjacent ridges. Soon we switchback onto rock glade and both cliff walls get deeper. One spot looks like a 10 ft dropoff: don't be deceived, below the ridge are foothold indentations into the rock. Very spectacular! We reach the bottom of the canyon and go east(right) and the trail weaves in and away from the 300 ft continuous cliff line and its unusual rock patterns. At approx 0.75 mile, you note a steep ascent on solid rock carved between cliff walls, plus a seasonal cascade. Surely we are not expected to climb this to the top? Yes - again we have foothold rock indentations. At the top, follow the trail back to the parking area. Before you make the ascent, you may want to bushwhack straight ahead to a couple nice rock shelters.
Don't come here after icy weather for obvious reasons; likewise, if a rain storm is forecast, this canyon floods quickly. More info from Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or

No comments: