Sunday, April 8

Signal Point Trail: Adventures with Uncle Bob

Signal Point Trail View

This is a further installment of the on-going series: "Adventures with Uncle Bob - Guide to Outdoor Recreation Opportunities in Southern Illinois".

A Hiking Guide to Signal Point Trail

This trail was first described in our December, 2003 newsletter. It involved a rugged two mile hike from Lake Glendale Road up to its prominent feature. Last year I became aware of an improved road which takes the hiker within one-third of a mile, thru level terrain, to reach Signal Point.

Directions: Take RT 146 past the entrance to Dixon Springs State Park. Continue east downhill to the first road on your left. The green sign marking is illegible. Travel north approximately 4 miles. When the road curves sharply right, pull off into a grassy area near the pine trees. After you walk about 0.3 mile on this wide trail, you will find yourself on a blufftop overlooking the forested valley. At the first stone glade take a short descent to the valley floor and look for a trail on the left. Now you can hike almost a mile along the base of this cliff line.

Notice the unique wavy patterns in the walls, rock formations, and cascades of water from the top of the bluffs. Upon reaching the end of the bluff line, a short switchback to the top brings the hiker to a "T" intersection. The trail to the right traverses a pine plantation which continues "forever". I didn't hike its full length so I don't know where it goes. I speculate that this trail would connect with the Bluff Top Trail at the state park (See the October, 2006 Shawnee Trails newsletter for this hike).

Back at the intersection, turn left and follow it to the the top of the cliffs to complete the loop and return to the parking area. Along this gladetop hike, note the plant communities and overlooks. Be sure to follow the gladetops, not the ATV path. Equestrian groups maintain the base trail; unfortunately, ATV riders tear up the vulnerable parts of the trail when the soil is damp. This trail is on Shawnee National Forest land; however, the ranger stations have no brochures on this trail. I had to get one from the Lake Glendale concessionaire.Approx GPS coordinates N 37.3995 and W 88.6437.

For further information contact Bob Tyson at 684-5643.