Friday, October 23

FS 747 Trail

Continuing with our monthly series, "Adventures with Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois," we feature the above trail. Directions: In Murphysboro, take 20th street south out of town to Hickory Ridge Road. Follow for several miles to a 4-way stop. Turn right and travel to Fairview Church. The parking area is on the right. This was the scene back in the 80's when there was a long-term protest by environmental groups against East Perry Lumber and Shawnee National Forest.
The trail is an old Forest Service road, traversing continual views of deep ravines on both sides of the path. We encounter rock outcroppings several times. The trail steeply desends to a narrow creekbed. Note a spur trail on the righ whch frequently crosses acreek with some nice views. A long ascent follows to a point where we can see Fountain Bluff in the distance. Eventually we descend to a utility right-a-way and electric tower. The trail goes steeply downward to an open field. I retraced the path back to the car. This trail is worthwhile during leaf-off and the distance out and back is approx 2.5 hours. Avoid this one after frequent rains and also becomes overgrown in the summer and fall. Since this is not an official FS trail, it is not maintained.
Subsequent to this visit, I was here after our May wind storm and downfalls block the entry point of the trail. The picture, above, shows an example of serious erosion along the trail. More info from Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or

01/28/2012: forget this trail as the forest service has no plans to repair the trail and is too much work for volunteers to handle the trees on the trail.