Thursday, March 19

Hurricane Bluff Trails

Continuing with our monthly series, "Adventures With Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois," we feature Hurricane Bluff Trail, Grindstaff Hollow, and FS 106A Trail. All 3 are adjacent to each other.

Directions: Scroll down to High Knob Trail on this blog to get directions from Harrisburg. Rather than park at the picnic/observation site on top of High Knob, go to the lot just before the stone pillars. Cross the road and follow the River to River trail for 1/4 mile and arrive at a signed junction by an old barn. Follow Snow Cone Trail (also known as horse trail 117) a short distance to a massive stone glade with pretty boulders. This is known as Hurricane Bluff. Continue on the trail while enjoying views over the cliffs and ravines. After another 1/4 mile, things did not seem that interesting. Continue past a pond, old grave yard, rotting structures, and turn left at a free-standing chimney. At some point I turned around and returned to the stone glade Hurricane Bluff.

Note two side trails start here: Trail 106A and Grinstaff Hollow. #106 follows the base of a tall pretty cliff line and huge, free-standing boulders for 1/2 mile. At some point the cliffs diminish and the trail descends into the woods. I turned around and returned to the above junction.

Let's take the Grinstaff (#164) trail, also known as horse trail 117A. This trail gradually descends, continually. Salient features include a continuous cliff line up to 100 ft high, slot canyons off the trail, a 30 ft tunnel thru rock, and beautiful rock formations. After a half mile, the trail makes a steep descent, veering from the cliff line, and headed for a boulder-strewn valley. One can bushwhack off-trail to continue the cliff line but the brush impedes progress. I turned around and returned to the parking lot.

Trail 117 has poor tread due to horses; However, trails 106A and 164 have no damage, although they are rocky. More info from Bob Tyson at 684-5643 and, or John O'Dell at 252-6789. The GPS coordinates are 37 36' 05"N and 88 20' 16"W