Friday, June 1

Cove Hollow Trail

Continuing with our series,  "Adventures with Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois," we feature Cove Hollow trail in Shawnee National Forest. This is a re-print of an article which disappeared from our old website.  Directions: From Murphysboro, IL, drive south on Rt 127 for about 10 miles, turn left onto Dutch Ridge Rd, go about 2 miles and note the hiker sign at Cove Hollow Rd.  This paved road terminates at the parking area. The trail is 4 miles long. Alternatively, one can park at the south end of the trail by continuing on Rt 127 and turning left on Boat Dock Rd. Go about 3 miles and note a small parking area and sign board. Closest GPS coordinates there are 37  37'  1708" N and 89  18'  69"W.
From the signboard on the north end, you can either take the path straight ahead or the one on your right as they eventually merge.  We enjoy views of Cedar Lake and now travel below a pretty cliff line.  We pass a small shelter cave and later see a side trail to a huge shelter cave. Sometimes an 80 ft waterfall drops over the cave. There is a path to climb to the top and a user-made trail for distant views.  Next we cross a shallow creek with cliffs facing north and pass a slot canyon as well as continuous cliff lines.  As we get closer to the 2 mile point, look for an easy way to ascend a cliff to a 30 ft cave.
Soon encounter a trail junction sign: the trail splits into Wolf Den Hollow to ascend for deep ravine views.The other choice is straight ahead as lower Cove Hollow and enjoy more cliff lines, slot canyons, and rock formations.  The sign is deceiving as the 3 mile number refers to Little Cedar trailhead, not to Boat Dock road.  Both trail segments converge later and continue to Boat Dock rd.  The trail is easy to follow, not steep, but is frequently "up and down."  Any questions, contact Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or

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