Friday, June 22

Cove Hollow Trail

This is an update to a previous article in our on-going series: "Adventures with Uncle Bob - Your Guide to Self-Adventure"( see that article at

1. Assuming you started from the trailhead on Cove Hollow Road, the trail will wind along the cliffs for approx 2 miles before you reach a signed trail junction. About 0.2 mile prior to that junction, notice an easy access to the top of the cliff line which has a nice cave. It looks to be 20 ft deep, 5 ft high, and 10 ft wide.

2. The signed trail junction leaves something to be desired. The mileage is wrong-it should be 4 miles from Cove Hollow Road to Pomona Boat Dock Road (park on the latter for a car shuttle). The sign says go left on the trail for Cove Hollow; Go right for Wolf Den Hollow. Both trails will merge back together in less than a mile, and continue to that Pomona Road. I recommend taking the left fork if your interest is scenic cliff lines. The Wolf Den Hollow segment travels thru ridgetop wooded areas, surrounded by ravines.

3. If you traveled north from the boat dock road, the same trail intersection occurs. No signage here. I recommend taking the right fork. For further questions, contact Bob Tyson at 618-684-5643. GPS coordinates are 37.639446 and -89.29056

Cave Valley Trail

As part of our on-going series:"Adventures with Uncle Bob-Your Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois", we turn our attention to Cave Valley Trail.

Directions: Take Rt 127 south from Murphysboro. Turn at the sign near Pomona for Natural Bridge. While traveling the gravel road north toward the bridge, look for a Forest Service gate and parking area on the right before ascending the steep hill. This trail is an old level-grade forest road. At approx 0.5 mile on the trail, look for an ATV spur trail on the left which will climb steeply to a line of cliff walls. Follow the unmarked trail either direction at the top until it deadends. There are nice views of the valley during leaf-off. Back on the roadbed trail, we are soon looking down into a marsh or wetlands(depending on rainfall) on both sides of the trail, as far as the eye can see. This is a natural area for non-game birds and protected as a nesting preserve. The next point of interest along the way is a marked spur trail which will take you to a large wildlife pond.
Our 1.5 mile trail ends at a wide eroded creek. One could continue across the creek on a trail if you don't mind getting wet. Re-trace the route back to the car. Views of the cliff line from the trail are better on a sunny day during leaf-off. The only detailed information on Cave Valley consists of one page in the Shawnee National Forest DEIS proposal book.

While here, why not continue up the road to Pomona Natural Bridge. The object is viewed from a short walk down steps from its parking lot. The span is 90 ft, 25 ft height, and 10 ft thick. The best photo can be viewed at The GPS coordinates at Cave Valley are 89 20' 37.39"W and 37 38' 27.21"N.

For any questions, contact Bob Tyson at 684-5643.