dogs on leash
Beautiful place. I went to scope it out by myself before bringing my kids up here. Had it been dry, it wouldn't have been too bad for my youngest kid, but as wet as it was today, I'm glad I went by myself. There were some tough uphill & downhills climbs on the wet rocks.
That being said, I absolutely love this place. In Southern Illinois, the only other place with better scenery is Garden of the Gods. The trails leading in & out of the Canyons are well maintained and well marked. Very easy to follow the trails w/out worrying about taking a wrong turn. It's only approx. 3 miles, but it's a somewhat tough 3 miles w/ the uphill climbs. The whole loop took me about 1 hour 45 mins to complete. I only stopped 2x to rest and drink water for a few minutes. As far as scenery in So. IL, this is easily a 5-star location. Have fun!
We will definitely go back here. There is so much to explore! The white trail is hard to follow but it is beautiful. Be prepared to get your feet wet. We crossed 3 or 4 sections we could not jump across.
We will be going back to the Yellow Trail, we didn't do the whole thing so we didn't find the ladder, but everything is beautiful along the way and you will see trees growing through rock formations.
Solid hike. Not many signs or markings but the trail was well kept and easy to follow. Cool rock formations and some nice views of lake from a far. The views might be more obstructed when all the trees have their leaves. Easier than Little Grand Canyon.
We had never done Cove Hollow before. Our aim was to go from Cove Hollow Trail Head to Boat Dock Road. The hike was beautiful but not well marked. Indeed, it was this app that we finally had to rely on to navigate our way. Had a blast anyway. Just glad we got to the cars before dusk.
I took the opportunity to ring in 2017, by making a day trip to Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois. We rolled out of St. Louis at 7:30am and after a 2-1/2 hour drive, we were at one of the many trailheads to Jackson Falls Recreational Area. Finding the trailhead was easy using the AllTrails app, but what was not easy was navigating the countless trails in the area without a map. I committed a rookie mistake and did not have a map printed or downloaded, nor did i download a previous route to my GPS or phone, and the area has zero cell service for AT&T so getting any help on the trail was not possible. That being said, we felt pretty good as the trail we started following 48C was really well marked (we went right at the top of the falls, eventually the trail number changed and then eventually there were no markers at all. We kept hiking along the top of the bluff wall, knowing that eventually the topography would change and we could sneak along the base of the bluff to get to the bottom of the waterfall. We finally came to some old fence posts / trail markers and butt-slid and scrambled down a slope to the base of the bluff and picked up another trail that followed the base. The trail was half rock scrambling, and half guessing which way it went...but we pressed on always keeping the bluff to our left and using the trails when they were noticeble (very very few trail markings). The geology the hike along with all of the moss and ferns had already placed this hike among my favorite, but when we finally made our way back to the base of Jackson Falls (about 3-1/2 miles or so after we started) this hike shot up to my favorite Missouri or Illinois hike to date. What an incredible place to enjoy lunch.
As we were finishing up lunch, three people on horses (the trails in the area are mixed use, and you need to watch where you are stepping to avoid the horse crap that may be on the trail) came up along the base (it was amazing to see horses navigate the rocky terrain with ease). We were hoping there was a trail up at the base of the falls, but were told if we headed along the bluff in the direction we were hiking, it would be another 3+ miles before we could get up on the bluff, but there may be a way to scramble up the bluff near the second waterfall (but the rider indicated it had been years since he had been in the area, and wasn't sure). He was right, and once we found the second waterfall, we were able to scramble our way up with only one slightly hairy push on wet rock. All in all, this was an awesome hike, but go prepared. There are lots of holes, crevices, and rocks to roll ankles on, and the moss covered rock is slick as snot.
Ascent: 634 ft
Descent: 660 ft
Max Elevation: 630 ft
Tags: hiking, Jackson Falls Recreational Area, Shawnee National Forest
Really cool walk that really met expectations. Beautiful hike with huge rock formations. Started at the west trail head near restroom and understand the rating of difficult due to the short climb down into ravine which took a few minutes to figure out. Also have to watch for the hairpin turn on the east end of trail when heading up to parking lot.
John S. on Garden of the Gods Observation Trai...
super easy hiking with beautiful rock formations