Thursday, May 12

FS 001T Loop Trail

Continuing with our monthly feature, "Adventures with Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois," we feature this new Forest Service trail, which also goes by the name Cove Hollow Trail. This can be confusing since a trail south of Murphysboro already has that name. Upon inquiry, the locals have always used that term for this place. Directions: scroll down this blog to East Trigg trailhead for directions from Ozark, Illinois. Coordinates appear to be 37 30' 0"N and 88 43' 0"W. It can also be found as N 37.801994 and W-90.70985.

The trail head has plenty of room for cars and horse trailers. Cross the road and follow the River to River trail signs for 18 minutes on this old service road until the junction with oo1T. This is a graveled surface thru a pine plantation and then changes to dirt. Suddenly this impressive cliff line appears and the serpentine trail weaves in and out a different cliff line and rock formations with each turn. Height vary from 30 ft to well over 100 ft. It looks like horse riders have also discovered this trail as dips in its surface have turned to mud. At some point we encounter a junction: upper cove and lower cove. I took upper cove to continue along the base of the cliffs. Then it turns to merge with lower. Now the loop will head south back to River to River trail (oo1). Did you miss the slot canyon near this junction? Now the loop moves away from the cliff line and running parallel with railroad tracks. Enjoy steep ravine views thru a long canyon. Despite previous user-made trails, oo1T is well marked. Eventually tread turns to gravel and meets up with 001. Turn right to return to the car. Turn left if you want to travel thru the RR underpass,left again, and follow the trail along pretty ravines and go on to a pretty rock area at Bay Lake. Our trail was 2.5 miles, gradually up and down but not steep. Overall, the Forest Service did a great job creating this trail. More info from Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or