Monday, February 25

Hogg Bluff Scenic Area

Continuing with our series,"Adventures With Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-adventure in Southern Illinois",we feature Hogg Bluff geological wonders. Directions: From Marion,ill take 1-57 to 1-24 to Tunnel Hill exit, cross US 45,and follow about 6 miles to a left onto Gum Springs Rd(just south of the church). This good road will bring you to an unmarked Shawnee National Forest parking area after crossing a bridge. An alternative direction as follows: go east from Marion on rt 13,turn right on rt 166,go thru Creal Springs,and turn right on US 45. Follow this to a left turn on Gum Springs rd just south of the sign for Ozark.
From the parking lot,note the user-made trail going west along beautiful cliffs. This is Cedar Wonders(scroll index for Cedar). It is also a parking access for River to River trail. Cross the paved road and walk east on an old road: the River to River trail turns right; we go straight ahead on an abandoned railbed. This will be a 25 minute walk to our goal as we view distant cliff lines on the left and marsh/swamp on the right. GPS N37.29742 and W-88.45467.  Alas! a 150 ft isolated massive boulder empompassed by a semi-circle creek. Look for an unmarked trail to its top for great views. Evidence suggests that indians used this top for ceremonial purposes rather than military functions. This mass formerly was surrounded by a lake until the Illinois Central railroad put its railbed thru it.  Visible from the roadbed is a perfect semi-circle cliff line on the north side of the creek-very unusual.. Back up to a place where you can cross the creek and bushwhack along the base of the cliff line. On 2-19-13 I found  extensive icicyles dripping from cliffs,many cliff overhangs,and one rockhouse about 25' deep and 40' length. Ownership is confusing: the railbed has private property signs posted as no hunting or fishing, but no postings at the geological oddities. This railbed will run all the way to Camp Ondessonk.More information on this area,contact Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or
3-1-13: a reader clarified ownership. camp ondessonk owns the railbed and postings to keep people from straying off the trail. The geological area belongs to Shawnee National Forest.