Tuesday, July 31

Happy Hollow Trailhead

Continuing with our series, "Adventures with Uncle Bob - Guide to self-Adventure in Southern Illinois," we feature this 4 mile section of the River to River Trail on Illinois Dept of Conservation land. This is a reprint of an article which was on our old website. Directions: From Marion, IL, take I-57 south to Goreville exit, and go east to Sullivan Rd.  Turn right and follow to Happy Hollow Rd. This road is very scenic, and start looking for an unmarked parking area when the road makes a sharp curve. GPS coordinates at the parking area are N37.531153 and W89.002161.
The trail could be classified as moderate or rugged in the eyes of the beholder.  We travel a steep descent on an old roadbed. At the bottom, take this side trail on the right as it overlooks a canyon, a 5 ft seasonal wide waterfall, and drop down into a cliff canyon maze. It eventially ends-go back to our trail junction and continue north.  Now we have views of steep ravines and cliff lines. We encounter a 15 ft wide creek which could be a foot deep in rainy weather.  After crossing, take time to climb up to the cliff lines to explore formations and shelter caves. We run into an unmarked junction: you need to go thru this rock-strewn gully and soon exit to the left, and continue in a northwest direction. Later there is an unmarked junction for Cedar Bluff rim trail.
Coming to a clearing and utility rightaway, make a choice: an old roadbed ascends thru pretty cliffs to end at the parking lot on Regent Rd; Or, follow the rightaway a short distance to re-enter the woods on a trail which brings you to the base of Bork Waterfall. Regent Rd would be an ideal car shuttle point. From Regent rd, you have a rim top view of the falls as well as to drive Regent Rd as it ascends back to Goreville Rd and on to I-57.  While here, why not also visit nearby Cedar Bluff and the Bork Waterfall rim trail (scroll the index of this blog for both).  Any questions or comments contact Bob Tyson 684-5643 or robkay43@webtv.net.

Tuesday, July 17

Fern Clyffe State Park

Continuing with our series,"Adventures With Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in southern Illinois",we feature a natural bridge on a less known trail on the edge of the park.  Scroll this index for another less known park area- Round Bluff Nature Preserve.  Directions: From Goreville,ill go south on rt 37 a couple miles to the park entrance.  At the first junction, turn left and then a right on the park road. I park at the picnic area called bluff view. Cross the road and pick up our natural bridge trail.  Trees block the access view-just descend into the creek bottom (there is also a parking area to the left of the road with a name that does not match the trail). on our trail ascent, we encounter aa 3-way junction: go straight ahead and we follow this segment of the River to River Trail( markers have an "i" symbol).  After switchbacks, we level off and continue in a south direction,enjoying cliff lines and distant views. At the midpoint of this moderate grade loop, we switchback to the base of the natural bridge. GPS coordinates N37.52061 and W88.99979. Outstanding! We continue past small shelter caves and cliffs, turn west and be alert for an unmarked descent to the bottom of the canyon.  We then walk aqn old logging road( could be overgrown with weeds in the spring), plus creek crossings as the trail turns north and back to our 3 way junction.turn right back to the parking area. The horse campground has an access point to the trail as  Happy hollow loop. picture at http://www.naturalarches.org/db/arches/illinois.htm. Click the one that ends in 4155080.You need to know that this trail is outside the park boundary during hunting season.

If you still have energy for further hiking or are camped here, continue on the park road to the end.  nu merous trails emanate from here: hawk Cave and a cliff canyon maze across the footbridge; seasonal waterfall trail and ridgetop views.  Along with a park map, these trails are self-evident without further elaboration from me.  Any questions, contact Bob Tyson 684-5643 or robkay43@webtv.net.