Side Day Trip to Indian Kitchen

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5/13/18 Shawnee Trail Conservancy
“Notice regarding old trail to Indian Kitchen from Hayes Canyon and Bear Branch campgrounds. The trail starting at where the old bridge abutment is located is now closed. The land is private property and marked accordingly. The new trail is across the creek on the left side of the gravel road. Please do not use this trail, they also own the “boat trail” at the top of the hill and will close that one too if people continue to ride along the creek! The new trail is number 405. Please spread the word, when a trail is marked private property, no trespassing, Stay Off of it. The STC has worked hard to keep the boat trail open as it is the only connecting trail to bowed tree crossing”

Do not use the trail off New Home road North of Eddyville if you can help it. Take the trail South of Eddyville at Rt. 5/Eddyville Rd. east off 145 about 1/4 Mile to Indian Kitchen Road. The parking lot is on the West side, the trail is right across the road to the East.

Google Map.,+Eddyville,+IL+62928/@37.4992401,-88.5793148,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8870bb9c26d8f717:0xe5e9e4c0cba020af!8m2!3d37.5039091!4d-88.5611667

Super beautiful area and an easy hike. (2-3mile round trip but steep down & back up from the creek)

You take highway 146 south just past Eddyville to the Shawnee Mart, and turn left. You will see the brown Indian Kitchen Sign just down the road to the left. Head down the old road and keep your eyes peeled. The trailhead ( trail 433) is a parking lot to the left that can be hard to see through the thick pines it is surrounded with. The trail is across the road on the right. (Signs saying foot and horse traffic only on the gate)

If you miss it and keep heading down the road, you will get to a bridge with nothing left but the 4 I beams across the creek. You might want to back up & turn around. It shows a road on the map, but it differs in real life as do many of the old roads in the Shawnee.

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No, it isn’t this flat & straight all the way and it can get pretty mushy after a rain with the horse traffic. There is a new trail to the left of the old they are trying to open, but it is a long slog through poison Ivy along an old roadbed. Take the more traveled one. On the maps it shows a spur trail going off to the South East where this continues East then North East. Stay on 433 to the left.

When you get to the Indian Kitchen site, there is a place to tie horses and a brush to scrub seeds and such off of your shoes. The trail takes you to the top of a bluff looking over the creek, but you want to continue down to the creek. Some people just stop at the top and turn around, but that’s like licking off the candy part of a tootsie roll and throwing away the chocolate center.


There are usually water falls coming off the big overhang and a deep blue pool that would probably be nice on a hot summer day. It was foggy this day and added to the mystic look of the area.

Look around, there are a couple of rock ledges to the North side of the curve that are like moss covered walkways above the creek that’s only about 6 ft below. I went with my wife this day and had a great time. I think these photos are from our first time there. I think I have photos from 3 other times but haven’t found them yet. (I have thousands of photos and hundreds of files to sort through). I’ll update with some more photos later. We took the newer trail back to see what it was like and aside from an interesting maple in the middle of nowhere (this area was farms back into the 30’s) the old roadbed isn’t at all as good as the original trail. It comes out just North of the original trail back at the trailhead. I haven’t been back for a year or so…so things might be different.

A couple more late summer photos from a different trip with friends.

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5 thoughts on “Side Day Trip to Indian Kitchen

  • Is there any way you could list the trailheads for these hikes? That would be very helpful. Thanks for everything you do.

    • Where the R2R crosses Lusk Creek at Bowed Tree Crossing, there is a trail not on that map that heads South into the canyon. I haven’t hiked it. I did hike on out of Indian Kitchen on what I think was 404 or 405 years ago but it was pretty grown up. So I really can’t say for sure. Almost all of those numbered trails are sparsely marked if at all aside from the R2R. The forest service and one lady in particular are against any markings in the wilderness areas aside from a few wooden unpainted markers, so that detailed map and a compass are the only way to navigate. There are some user made trails in there as well and when you come across a trail with no markings it can get very confusing as to where exactly you are. Fortunately the area isn’t big enough to get too lost if you start early. The cell phone reception is really bad in the Lusk Creek area BTW.

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