Wednesday, February 11

Cedar Grove Trailhead

Continuing with our monthly series, "Adventures with Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois," we feature this section of the River to River Trail from Cedar Grove Road to Bay Lake. Its length is 3.7 miles, and I rate it at moderate level (alternates between level grade and stretches of up and down). 2/3 of the trail travels on old Forest Service road and the remainder along narrow paths.

Directions: Take Tunnel hill exit off I-24, follow thru Tunnel Hill to US 45, cross the latter and proceed to the junction with Rt 147. Turn left and go several miles to Cedar Grove Road; turn left, and go approx 5 miles, pass Flamini Rd and start looking for the River to River (R-R) trail crossing. Park here and go west. The first 1 and 1/4 miles are not too exciting-some overlooks over ravines. Come to a clearing and note a side trail on the right. I went down this one for 30 minutes and found it deeply rutted due to horse damage and lacks direction near a steep downhill slope. It is supposed to go to Sand Cave.

Back on the R-R trail, we walk out of the woods onto Flamini Rd. Turn right, walk past a couple residences and re-enter the woods. Tread is rocky. Come to a three-way junction: go straight ahead or slightly left. Later on we come to another junction with Ruby Falls trail-go left. Soon we encounter a steep grade and walk along the base of a high ravine. Note the boulders on top of the ravine. We can see the edge of Bay Lake now. Later we come to a cliff top glade with a lookout over Bay Lake dam and the surrounding ridgetops ( pictured above). From here the trail descends to the county road. Up ahead you will find a junction to continue the R-R trail west for 2.4 miles to East Trigg trailhead, or to turn right for the lake.

I turned around and returned to the car. Due to places where the trail is narrow, you may not want to do this trail when all the leaves are down. Put this hike together with 3 other trails indexed on this blog (Peter Cave, East Trigg, and Cedar Wonders) and you will be able to follow the River to River trail from the west section of Hayes Creek Canyon to Tunnel Hill-Simpson blacktop road. More info from Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or
GPS coordinate for Cedar Grove Rd 37 29' 31"N and 88 38' 28"W.
12-3-2012: The first paragraph noted a side trail going to Sand Cave. This is marked now as trail 030. I walked this trail and is in great shape: lots of switchbacks for gentile terrain, well graveled,well marked along the way. Scroll this blog to sand Cave where i have a complete description of 030 loop trail.