Monday, July 20

Hayes Canyon Trail

Continuing with our series,"Adventures With Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois", we feature Hayes Creek Canyon. Directions: follow Rt 13 east from Marion to Rt 166 thru Creal Springs and to US 45. Turn right and go to Ozark. Turn at the sign for Bell Smith Springs. Continue on Ozark Rd past Bell Smith, past the the junction with Cedar Grove Rd and continue to its end with another blacktop road. Turn right and go to the horse ranch. An alternate direction is at Eddyville, Illinois. Follow the sign thru town to the horse ranch.

Arriving at the ranch, either park by the office or take the 2nd right at the stop sign. At the next intersection, go straight ahead and park by the picnic tables and outhouse. Don't park in any spaces allocated to horse trailers/campers. The signed trail starts here and is well-graveled. Shortly, there is a signed spur to DOUBLE BRANCH HOLE. This top view on a massive stone glade looks out at two waterfall cascades which form a "V" shape. I did find a way to bushwhack to the bottom to take in the view and pictures( difficult to get both cascades into one picture). The main trail seems to veer away from canyon views;However, you can easily walk along the stone glade rim for continuous views into the canyon, which will run parallel to the main trailfor 2/3 of the distance before intercepting the gravel one. Note the shortcut spur to the highway.

At approx one mile, one has to cross a creek on stepping stones and continue west to other trails which lead to Jackson Hole, Blue Hole, Petticoat Junction,etc. Having already done these before, I returned to the car. If the horse ranch gives you any problem with parking there, drive north to the next blacktop road, turn left, and go to Mustang Lane. Once parked, go to the trail junction with Jackson Hole and hike east for 2.5 miles to Double Branch. Scroll down this blog to Jackson Hole for more detail. More info from Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or

GPS coordinates are 37 30' 03" N and 88 35' 12"W

9-1-09. message from camp owner: don't park where article indicates. go to the center of the campground where the main restrooms are, and park in the labeled lot next to it. hikers can use the facilities. check in at the office first if open. happy trails! 9-15-10. one of our bloggers who is a photographer has provided a super picture that has captured both falls on the same picture at his site:

10/25/2011: we tooksome trails on the west end of the canyon for exploration. In Eddyville, turn west near the post office and follow l mile to the trailhead for River to River( 001). Take this trail to the jct for 496B and follow across the creek. turn left. Later we junction with 493 and have two choices. We turned right. Soon we observe a pretty cliff line known as Buffalo Bluff. Soon we ascend as a rim trail, looking steeply down to the canyon floor. Step off the trail to peer over it. Soon we veer away from the rim and the trail becomes a muddy quagmire before reaching the jct with 498. We turned left: This will run west and then straight south as awell-graveled trail. We junction with 498J (worn off looks like an I ). Follow 498J back to meet 493 as a loop. Upon reaching the jct with 496B, we continued on 493 for a pretty cliff line. It ended at 001. Don't take 001 back to the car as it is not scenic and much longer; Otherwise, just retrace back to the car on 496B.
I am happy to report as of 11-11-12, that the rim trail segment of 493 which leads to 498, has been graveled the whole distance. Due to its "zig zag" new layout the trail seems longer. Great effort by Forest Service.