The Elizabethtown to High Knob section has recently been blazed. It is marked from Elizabethtown to High knob, to one horse gap with no problem areas. All the intersections are blazed. The trail conditions are pretty decent right now. All the creeks are running but pretty low and passable. Of course one rainstorm will change it, but there should be no problem getting filterable water.
The Ohio River At Elizabethtown. The Official beginning of the River to River trail from East to West. At one time the trail began at Battery Rock, but because of marker vandalism and the remote location as well as a high percentage of unexciting road walking, it was relocated to Elizabethtown. This site doesn’t go into a lot of detail on the battery rock leg since I didn’t hike it all. There is a page on what I did travel though.
Sooooo…Elizabethtown is a nice small town with a couple of bed & breakfasts and restaurants. It is traditional to wet your feet in the Ohio before you get started. (Or pick up a small vial if you are a thru hiker)
There are some nice views from here and the E’town Fish Restaurant has great fried catfish at very reasonable prices and a great view of the Ohio floating by.
The walk out of Elizabethtown is along a county road and takes you to the North, then Northeast for a ways until it turns and enters the Forest.
Your legs will feel it right off the bat as you climb up an old road to the top of the ridge.
I am adding Google Earth Photos but the white dots are just a guess where the trail is most of the time. It should give you another reference as to the terrain.
The map shows roads that are jeep or horseback only. Some aren’t even traveled and are completely overgrown. You don’t know until you get there. Back before the Shawnee Forest was first started, and the land was bought by the Government, this was all farmland. What was then county roads have long been closed and abandoned while some others are still used by hunters and park rangers. Just because you see a road on one of the maps, don’t assume they still are passable. I’ll show you some that aren’t. Some are nice. The trail follows old roadbeds for most of this leg.
You will come to a pine woods with a lot of rutted areas where 4 wheelers play. The trail markers are sparse until after here, but there isn’t much chance of getting lost as the trail just follows the main roadbed for this part of the trip north. It is a nice walk.
The trail comes to a T intersection. Left is Whoopie Cat Lake, Right is the R2R towards Lake Tecumseh.
Whoopie Cat Lake
Whoopie Cat Mountain on the way to the lake.
As you near the south side of Lake Tecumseh you get to another T with a wide old roadbed after following a creek downhill. Lots of trails right here, but just bear right & follow the blazes North. There is a nice big camping area here with a fire ring. You will soon come to a loop in the gravel access road to Lake Tecumseh. (for turning trailers around I think) Lake Tecumseh is only a few hundred feet up that access road to the left (West) and worth the walk. Nice cypress trees abound and another large camping area.
Following the R2R North up the gravel road, it soon turns right. The R2R leaves the road just
after the curve continuing North while the road heads West.
Be looking for it! It is down from the road and though I added another blaze, it would be easy to miss. This is the trail opening.
Just up the trail is a little creek crossing with an interesting grid pattern from the days when it was a road.
You are traveling around the point of Lake Tecumseh, though you can’t see it.
You will come to a T intersection with another road though more of a sharp Y than a T.
TURN left!! (West) It is blazed, but if you are looking down you will wander East to parts unknown! (Actually I think it eventually rejoins)
You are heading west along the upper side of Lake Tecumseh (still can’t see it). If you pay attention to the North as you walk you will see something that doesn’t look normal along a low bluff. Those aren’t exactly an odd color of leaves, they are prickly pear cactus! Might be pretty if they flower in the Spring.
You will come to a northern access to Lake Tecumseh dam, though not quite as pretty as the other access point.
You will soon turn North off the road following the R2R so keep an eye out for the turn off.
Traveling North from Lake Tecumseh the trail crosses Hogthief creek several times. Somewhere along here if you keep an eye out on the West side, you will see an old homestead site and a really dead 1958 Pontiac 4dr hard top on its side up against a skinny dead tree. Just staying up from habit I think. It does have Power Steering which was a very rare accessory at the time. (I’m somewhat of an old car buff)
I actually missed seeing the car yesterday with all the leaves on, but I think I did see the sloping driveway through the woods.
Lots of old home sites but most are nearly invisible. This was just off the old “Driveway”. The trail does takes several turns onto active roads along this section but the walk is nice. The parking lot and black hash marked circle on the map is Iron Furnace. It is only a 1/4 mile up the cross road and a nice place for a picnic and to check out the restored Civil War era furnace. Several other signs of previous inhabitants along the way.
You will reach an open area that is a quail habitat. It has grown up a lot since I first came here. Follow the road North.
You will come to some old big trees at the top of the hill. An old homestead. Follow the tire tracks around a bend and into the woods.
Some very hilly terrain ahead. I was going to name one Mt. Everest but I hear it’s already taken.
You will come up a hill and to a road access. The trail makes a sharp left turn here, and follows a level ridge for a long while. (yay)
I have this labeled “Parking Access #1” on the map
You will cross a wide creek, which is a normal straight across crossing, Creek #2
You will come to a sharp right off the trail that goes slightly uphill. You will want to take this! I reblazed it and added trail markers down trail both direction within sight. but there was nothing there when I hiked it except for a blue ribbon. Coming southbound you would naturally turn left anyway.
You will come to an old growth pine woods. There is a right turn in it, but no obvious alternative to take. Almost all of the roads shown on the map are disused and overgrown.
Can you spot the painted blaze below mine?
Now the most confusing crossing on the map. Crossing #1. The crossing is offset quite a bit. It used to go straight across, but apparently that was too easy. You can do it southbound but will have to bushwack 50ft through briars at the top. You can’t even see it southbound, it is completely overgrown. The trail takes the leg next to the creek now and they have it mowed through a high weed field down to the bend in the creek. Pay attention to the dotted new route here. Going North, the crossing comes up the other side bank about 100 feet West. Look West and you will see a blaze. Heading South here look to the East and see the bend in the creek, That is where you come out. If the creek is high you will get wet.
Continuing the narration Northbound
There is a 4 wheeler trail in the sand around the bend that leads to a way up and South that way.
I think it is the old trail that is almost disused but marked as the trail on this map. I blazed the new crossing as well as I could, but with all the 4 wheeler trails here and remanants of an alternate R2R past the bend it can be a head scratcher.
Well, you made it across the 2 deepest Creeks on the first leg. Next is the Lee Mine area.