Cove Hollow Trail to Cedar Lake Trail

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Shawnee National Forest

Cove Hollow Trail to Cedar Lake Trail is a 5.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Alto Pass, Illinois that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length5.4 miElevation gain452 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashKid friendlyBackpackingFishingHikingHorseback ridingMountain bikingWalkingCaveForestLakeViewsWildlifeMuddyOver grownRocky
Description
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Getting There

A portion of this trail is a loop around Cedar lake. You also have the option for an out and back to the trailhead on Rowan Road at Makanda. The trail is well blazed with only a couple of junctions missing blazes. A large segment of this trail is part of the River to River trail. The trail is in good shape generally. There are a few washed out sections due to erosion on steeper slopes. There is a mixture of hardwood and some larger groves of short leaf pine. The first portion of the trail is a loop around the lake with an option to go out and back to the Lirley trail head near Makanda.

For More Information Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District 521 North Main Jonesboro, IL 62952 (618) 833-8576

Access: From Carbondale: Take Highway 51 south 7 miles to Old Hwy 51; then west .75 miles to McGuire Rd. Take McGuire Rd. .25 miles to Rowan Rd. Turn south onto Rowan Rd. for 1 mile to River to River trailhead (Lirley trailhead). From Murphysboro: Take Highway 127 south 10 miles. For Cove Hollow trailhead turn east onto Dutch Ridge Rd., then right onto Cove Hollow Rd. To reach Pomona Boat Launch parking lot, turn east onto Boat Dock Rd. (you pass the trailhead enroute to the boat launch). To access Little Cedar Lake trail, use Pomona Boat Dock Rd. trailhead or access it via Landreth Rd. by turning northeast onto Landreth Rd.

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Reviews (162)
Photos (207)
Activities (153)
Completed (300)
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Erin Lewis
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Hiking

Just starting to really green up, but the little bit of poison ivy wasn’t too big yet. It was downhill and pretty steep and rocky for the first quarter to half mile of the trail. Not great if you are unsteady on your feet. After that it was gentle up and downhill. We never saw anyone else on the trail. It was beautiful. I highly recommend this trail, at least this time of year.

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Fabricio Flores
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Hiking
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Eliot Ayres
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Hiking
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Bill Romer
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Hiking

One of our all-time favorite trails! Amazing cliffs, caves, and slot canyons. A constant view of cedar lake just before spring. We do love winter and spring hikes. We kind of wound our way to the left down to the trail along the lake shore at the beginning, not like it was marked on the map, so just keep your eyes open for trail number 385.

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Eliot Ayres
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Hiking
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leslie Kinder
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Hiking
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Daniel Morgan
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Bonus of doing this trail in late December is that there were only a few people and the views of the lake and rock cliffs are not hindered by foliage. The distance is not accurate though. I felt I had gone farther than the 2.7 miles from end to end so I ran a walking app on the way back. It was 3.45 miles one way making the out and back total 6.9 and not the 5.4 listed. The trail itself goes up and down a lot running next to rock cliffs a lot of the time. Very cool hike.

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Mandy Marggraf
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Hiking
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Mandy Marggraf
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Nicholaus Luer
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Hiking

Amazing!!!

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Jennifer Luer
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HikingGreat!

One of the most beautiful hikes we have done in Southern Illinois. Totally worth the drive and decently traveled.

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Charlie Grisham
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Hiking

We should have taken the trail to the left to start but took the trail to the right. Realizing we were off trail, we climbed down a rather safe cliff wall and got back on. But then, we went straight instead of turning and came across this purple ladder which seemed to have a warning on it so left it alone. But saw a cool cave- the pigeons scared us! We finally got back on trail. With so many leaves on the trail, it was hard to see the hidden rocks and branches underneath so tripped many times, almost twisted my ankle multiple times and my knees were aching. Great workout for glutes, quads, and calf muscles. Note to self: don’t do spin class before this one.

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Mike Lang
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Hiking

Beautiful rock formations and a couple of surprises for which you have to look. There's a lot of opportunities to climb and wonder off trail.

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Leslie Hopkins
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Hiking

Really strenuous. Didn't make it to the Boat Dock Rd. 11/8/20 the leaves covered the trail, making it very slick. Fell twice. If you're looking to burn calories and build quads, this is the trail for you, lol.

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Ryan Klotz
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Hiking

Chickens in those woods today.

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Charles Schumann Jr
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Hiking
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Sara Murphy
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Charles Schumann Jr
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Kirsten Gard
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HikingGreat!
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Sara Hodge
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Hiking

Nice scenic traipse through the woods. cool rock formations.

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Deidra Sipes
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Hiking

not clearly marked

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Sara Murphy
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Hiking

well worn trails, so many paths tho easy to get mixed up. great rock formations.

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John Durrer
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Hiking

Nice trail at the beginning. Lots of stuff to play on. The back half of the trail is pretty boring, but a nice trail and well defined.

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Gary Larson
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HikingClosedPrivate property

had a lot of issues with private property and the road itself. tried to get to the pucnic area.

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Valerie Chandra
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Flooded

Didn’t realize it wasn’t a loop (our mistake). A bit confusing as far as which side of the road the trail starts. Started ok. Not spectacular. Probably completed half of it before being stopped by a flooded creek. Turned around. Probably missed the more interesting part of this hike?

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Sophie Cao
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HikingBugsMuddy

Took this trail backwards (Cedar lake to cove). Due to morning rain, it was pretty muddy and buggy (lots of spider webs across the trail). But also lovely and shaded with beautiful rock outcroppings and glimpses of the lake!

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Silas Berger
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Backpacking

Great trail! Will definitely return when it’s not 90 degrees. There are two trailheads that both lead to the same trail(385), One is straight ahead and has a nice downhill that moves right gently and the other trailhead on the right involves a bit of bouldering. All the good camping spots are within the first 2 1/2 miles. I really like this trail because there are lots of different side routes that lead to caves and huge overhangs, lots to see don’t be afraid to venture off!

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Qasim Alharbi
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Hiking

Spider nets

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