Friday, May 25

Eagle Mountain Scenic Area

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

A Hiking Guide to Eagle Mountain

This area is bisected by the Crest Trail which starts at Glen O.Jones Lake and ends near Old Stoneface. Directions: Take rt 145 from Harrisburg and turn at the sign for Glen O. Jones Lake. You will travel approx 6 miles until the road comes to a "T" intersection. Go right and look for the next road on your left (the sign is turned the wrong way: It should say Eagle Mountain Road). Follow this steep switchback road until it levels off. Look for a boulder along the road surrounded by two trails forming a "V" shape. Either park along the road or travel another 100 yards to a primitive campsite parking area. (see for a partial description of Crest Trail).

At the boulder, take the left trail and soon come to a beautiful boulder-strewn area. The brush between boulders impede an in-depth exploration; However, it is easy to climb up for overlooks. The trail continues steeply downhill and comes to a junction near a long cliff line. Go left to follow a faint trail along the base of this interesting cliff line until the brush gets thick. Return to the junction, go straight ahead, and look for two ribbons on a tree. Turn left and follow the yellow marker leading to the rim trail.

Walking along the rim trail, 75 ft above the valley floor, affords numerous overlooks on the left. Another layer of cliff line (about 20 ft high) is on your right. The line tapers off at some point and I return to the trail junction at the base. If you get confused on which of the three trails return to the top and your car, look for the one with the yellow natural area signs. I have found no brochures for this area. You may want to avoid this road in the event of winter ice, or after heavy rains.

Crest trail has fallen off the above website. This trail is rugged and at least 6 miles. From the Indian statue point of embarkment, we have overlooks over the valley at times. near Eagle Mountain, we are walking along a double-decker cliff line with the trail between both. After crossing Eagle Mountain road, the trail has a nice cliff line for a while, goes thru woods, and arrive at a confusing junction. Turn left and walk a ways to go thru a power line crossing, descend over rocky terrain, and finally end up on a pretty rim trail as you arrive at Old Stoneface.

More info from Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or John O'Dell at 252-6789. The GPS coordinates are N37.669867 and W 88.436112.

Wednesday, May 9

Uncle Bob: Jackson Hollow

This is an update to a previous article written on exploring Jackson Hollow in Southern Illinois. See our website at :

1. While hiking on the north side base of the cliffs, having passed the waterfall, you are on trail 402. When you get to a junction with trail 403,make a side trip on the latter for a short distance view a balanced rock resting above a 20 ft boulder. Return to 402 and continue on to the railroad track. Re-trace your route back to the rim access.

2. You may also want to visit the west side of Jackson Hollow by driving down Trigg Tower Road. Just before the horse ranch, look for a small parking area on the right and an orange electric utility box on the left. Park here, walk south about 50 ft and cross a stone glade area. Head downhill and look to your right. You will find a circular rock shelter about 500 ft long , and approx 20 ft deep. A great geological wonder! Photos are available at On the search line write:

jackson hollow illinois.GPS coordinates are 37 30' 46.99N and 88 42' 5.65 W  12-13-12: the above website is a rewrite. From Marion,ill, go east to rt 166,go thru Creal Springs,turn right on us 45, turn left at Ozark,ill. Go about 5 miles,and turn right on the next road after the Trigg tower sign. This road descends to the parking lot. Forget this place on weekends as rock climbers fill up the lot. Upon arrival,walk west to the top of the waterfall. take the user-made trail on the left to enjoy rim top views. The trail turns north and watch for 2 places, about 1/8 mile apart,to descend to the base.Go right and enjoy the cliff line and rock formations along trail 049. We pass the waterfall and continue along the north side of this U-shaped canyon. We reach the railroad tracks. You can retrace your route back to the car,or ascend to the top and arrive at the parking area. To do the latter, turn right and follow the tracks until you see the obvious unmarked trail back to the cliff line. Go about 50 ft and note a gap between a boulder and cliff line and ascend to the top. Go right. You are now on trail 048. Again we have another trail with continuous rim top views. You will walk about 1.8 miles on this section back to the car. 

Friday, May 4

Swayne Hollow Nature Preserve

Swayne Hollow

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 Swayne Hollow (8 acres)

This public area was acquired in November 2006 by the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission. It is 0.5 mile from the Piney Woods Ravine Nature Preserve (see the November 2001 Shawnee Trails newsletter for that hike). The trail is not yet signed, but I did an explore it last December.

Directions from Murphysboro: Take RT 149 to Rt 3. Turn right and travel approx 15 miles to Hog Hill RD (brown sign). This pretty road will soon become Rock Crusher Road. Follow the brown signs to Piney Woods. Upon arrival, by-pass the parking area and continue another half mile to the tree line. I parked along the road and followed an old path downhill to view a stream flowing under a pretty boulder area. The path seemed to vanish at some point. Returning to the car, I drove a short distance to the opening across from an abandoned barn. An ATV path went steeply downhill to the confluence of two creek beds where I viewed a long pretty cliff line and rock formations. There was no way to cross the creeks and follow the rest of the cliff line which veered in a southward direction. I continued west on the user-made trail which afforded overlooks of a creek bed, surrounded by a rock canyon on both sides. Either re-trace your route back to the car or walk uphill to an open field. Turn right and ascend back to the county road. Turn right on that road and walk less than 0.3 mile back to the car.

The Illinois Nature Preserve Commission's mission is to protect the Shining Club Moss, Ground Pine, Chokeberry and Cinnamon Fern species, as well as the aforermentioned geological scenery. No maps are available to the general public (except the one sent to me by the local contact person). For those with compass or GPS, look for USGS topographical map Welge 7.5 minute Quadrangle, Swayne Hollow, Randolph County. For more information, contact Bob Tyson at 618-684-5643 or Judy Dempsey at 687-1169.