Thursday, April 19

Pine Hills Scenic area

Continuing with our series,"Adventures With Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois",we feature Pine Hills in Shawnee National Forest. Directions: From Murphysboro,ill., take rt 149 west to Rt 3, turn left,and travel approx 20 miles. Upon crossing the Big Muddy bridge,turn left on the levee road and arrive at a junction near a steep cliff line. Turn right and park at Winter pond( GPS 37 35' 2.07"N and 89 26' 25.75"W). Walk this 2.5 mile road which bisects this beautiful cliff line and LaRue Swamp. The road is closed to vehicles during snake migrations from cliffs to swamp from March 15 to May 15, as well as Sept 1-Oct 30 each year. At the end of this road,we can turn right onto LaRue road as it joins Rt 3.
Back at Winter Pond, drive north, pass the levee road,and follow signs to Pine Hills drive which switchbacks to the top of the 350 ft bluff line. This 7 mile road provides frequent overlooks over adjacent deep ravines, ridges,swamp, and farm land. It descends eventually to end at the Trail of Tears state forest road, where you can either return to rt 3 or go to the state forest. The first trail at the top is Inspiration Point(o.75 mile) which leads to the obvious. The next trail on the drive is the Godwin. This runs 6 miles to Bald Knob Mountain trailhead. The River to River trail overlaps it. The first 3 miles can be hard to follow. Additional short trails occur along the drive until the last one at the Allen's Flat sign. This is the White Pines trail. It can also be accessed from #10 spot in the campground at the bottom.
This 2.5 mile trail is a continual descent so easier to start at Allen Flat. Along this trail, we experience excellent views of ravines above and below the trail. There is a junction later for Hutchins creek trail if you want to extend the hike; Otherwise, end it at the campground. For another adventure, instead of turning onto Pine Hills drive, continue north on the gravel road which soon becomes Macedonia road thru Clear Springs Wilderness. It affords conntinuous cliff lines, rock formations, and ravine views. Eventually, it is a blacktop road which will meet Hickory Ridge road to go to Murphysboro. Any questions, contact Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or

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