Attention! The trail is being moved East of Owl Bluff. Here are a side by side of the old & new routes.
If I were driving to One Horse gap Lake, I’d take the gravel road up from the south that ends up in the middle parking area. The one to the West is rougher and takes you closer to the Gap and R2R trail. The one to the right of the lake is 4wd friendly and what my friend drove to pick me up last trip with his Honda Element.
This trip he drove me up from the North to just above One Horse gap on a service road that only crazy people would drive since some areas you have to scrape a tree or two and transverse a 3 ft deep rut. Normal people can leave their 4wd about 1/4 of a mile further up the trail.
Definitely horseback and ATV area.
The river to river trail did travel West at one time off the bare rock area above one horse gap. It now travels South from below the Gap. Does a loop back North and comes out at Concord cemetery
Great fall leaf color that trip in 2012.
The trail was soupy in places where the horses & 4 wheelers traveled it, but at least it was mostly a pleasant hike. I was going to try and make Owls Bluff that day.
Some of these spots would be weeds without the traffic, so it’s a tradeoff really. The map shows a road up to Concord cemetery, but that IS the road pictured above.
Concord cemetery is very scenic where you come out. It looks more like a road at that point and I had a water cache hidden there behind a tree off to one side of the road. Didn’t need it too bad because it was only a couple hours from One Horse gap. Still, the next leg was pretty hard walking. I don’t like walking roads. It hurts my back more than the rough trails for some reason. I did unkink my back on a flat large horizontal headstone. Hey, if someone wants to use mine some day, that would be ok with me. After a snack break and unkinking, it was off to the North West.
Uphill curving to the left, you come upon New Hope Church which is pretty old looking. The building is getting a little curvy on one side.
14 miles from One Horse Gap to Eddyville according to this sign. The maps & signs don’t always agree to this. Figure about 1 mph average in the Forest, more on the roads. Less on muddy trails. At the entrance back into the woods is Bethesda Church.
A short way West you will come across this sign laying on the ground or propped against a tree. I think it is supposed to be a couple of miles further along the trail, or that’s a mighty long 8 miles to Eddyville.
Map 6, this sign was at trail 425 (black dotted line heading straight North.)
There are a couple of potentially deep creek crossings. These are the first on West a week ago ((9/15/19) with little water flow.
You did bring water shoes?
I was through this area all the way to I-57 blazing last week. Water was only flowing a trickle.
Not that it needed it.
The creek crossings and trail intersections are marked better now (I placed 140 blazes this trip) but there are places you need to be looking. This is East bound at the first curve past the next crossing. The River to River cuts left at the curve where the more traveled road turns right.
Just a little further past the intersection with the bigger forest road is another wet crossing.
The smart money is cross the rocks to the left, not the rotten logs to the right. That’s what I’ll do NEXT time.
There is a big clearing on the other side with multiple trails. The R2R follows the creek to the left.
No more fun until Owl Bluff. Here are some green photos from last week followed by some at leaf change a few years ago.
Do note that the trail is being rerouted the couple of miles East of Owl bluff.
The last was me wishing I knew how far back I was going to have to go.
So I packed up and headed towards the circle B campground/Lusk creek trailhead.
There is a trick to the Lusk creek crossing. It is deep at the official crossing. There are some CCC era stone walls on both sides of the Westbound crossing. Walk on top of the stones on the South side (left westbound) and bushwhack about 20ft down to the rocks and cross dry. Once across WB you will go to the left across a small creek and follow it a short way West along the big trail past the bare spot, then cross the creek back to the right and follow the trail there back East up the edge of the bluff to the top above Lusk Creek and switchback to the top.
This is the bluff you see coming to the crossing and this is where you end up on top of to continue west. East bound is no trouble.
The first time I traveled it, the blaze was missing and I just followed the Westbound trail to the circle B horse camp right across from the trailhead. Not a bad way to go but it isn’t the River to River trail.
At the trailhead, there are vault toilets and across the road at the circle B, there is a store and a water spigot. I refilled my bottles at the spigot which is in the private campground, but surely they didn’t mind, and headed down the trail towards Eddyville. There are two choices here the old trail that meanders around, or the straight through the trees trail. My knees were hurting from the day before over exertion, so I took the straight through.
This year I was blazing the trail for 5 days and only taking a day pack with my wife picking me up at the end of the day so I took the longer trail. It’s well maintained but actually goes North for a lot longer than I liked, then headed South along a low ridge that had peeks of the traffic driving by on RT 145. Nothing really to see worth the extra miles.
That last photo is just a tease. In a short time it was back to blacktop again.
I swear it is all uphill from there to Eddyville. See on Map 7 where it crosses a creek and heads straight South with a couple West turns before Eddyville? It is all uphill from the Creek to the turn and then uphill the rest of the way for good measure. My back & knees were killing me at this point, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to go much farther than the Forest outside Eddyville. I had to stop & rest several times on the road and was in a foul mood. I was thinking I might have worn out my knees like so many of my friends and might not be able to keep hiking these trips.
Then came Shawnee Restaurant & Lounge!
After crossing 145 on my way into town, I pass a little restaurant with a HEAVENLY smell of grilled meat coming out. I limped back there and went in for a rest & food. I think I was the only one in there as it was in between lunch & dinner. A real coke, a real hamburger with onions & mustard and fries! And friendly!! I enjoyed every second and got to charge my phone.
Another refill to take with, and I felt good again. Your mental state really makes a difference whether you enjoy what you are experiencing or tolerating it. I had a good trip the rest of the time.
Back on the road, it is actually the only road to the west out of town. The R2R heads west then the road turns North. It goes past a pretty junky house on the right with 3-4 barking dogs on chains. You are getting close. The road travels on downhill for a few hundred yards then crosses into the woods.
The trail curves to the left around the base of a ridge with a creek to the right. The R2R continues up along the ridge but the white diamond trail to Jackson Hole crosses here in about chest high water. Go on a little further and find a way across without getting wet.
But wait! The next page continues on. The rest here is Jackson hole.
I didn’t make it to Jackson Hole with my tent that night because I found a nice spot in a pine woods to pitch my tent. I went on ahead and found the clearing that day, but there wasn’t enough light left to look it over. In the morning when I got out of my tent, I startled a snorting deer just a few yards away. Ok, it startled me too.
Jackson Hole is a very cool place. It is very popular (except with certain unnamed home owners). And several trails meet there. I plan on coming back sometime and circling around to see the cave below the waterfall. (and see the waterfall if it is a rainy day) It’s an easy day drip from Eddyville , but you might want to get a Jackson Hole map from the ranger station and come in the North side past McVickers Cabins Campground to avoid the deep creek if it has rained recently.
Next Eddyville to Bay Lake to Simpson Blacktop.