That second map shows a LOT of detail including the white diamond trail numbers. It can be found uncropped in PDF file at http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5139627.pdf
Warning, It’s a monster sized map!
Leaving Eddyville by the only road leading West you curve to the North and 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, the trail leaves on the left side there.
The trail curves to the left around the base of a ridge with a creek to the right. The R2R continues along the creek, but the white diamond trail crosses here. That is the way to Jackson Hole and a bunch of side trails. Continue along the creek. There is a huge tree down here and you have to go uphill around it.
By a coincidence, there is an old forest road being used recently that you will use to get around the tree, Don’t follow the roadbed up, but go back down and follow the creek trail to past the bend.
The trail is nice along here with a nice valley below. Lots of ridges & valleys along the route here and some side trails. I don’t have a thing further marked on Map 7 so I’ll just post the photos I took. The trail has been re routed along here in the last few years so don’t think you are getting senile if it doesn’t look the same as you remember, just follow the red number 001 blazes.
Moving on to Map 8 We get to Crow Knob Ecological Area.
Nice little spot out in the middle of nowhere to take a snack break. Almost a nice view from the top. Too bad this hike wasn’t during leaf off time of the year. This was early October of a mild fall (2013)
Signs are underrated. It is nice to know how far you have gone and how far you have to go. Trail markers are vastly underrated when you get to an intersection.
Petticoat junction is where several trails meet. I THINK this was it.
What is cool is seeing your trail marker. What isn’t is getting to a big intersection and seeing the post where the trail marker sign used to be. This one was marked. A later one wasn’t. I wonder who has that hanging in their room? I would like to discuss that with them. Petticoat Junction was actually a couple miles back but this is where the sign was. This is where the detailed big map (“not for resale”) comes in handy. Trigg Road trailhead in 6 miles. It was too late in the day for 6 miles. I was just wanting to make Bay Lake. ( have recently been on a blazing run through there and all the intersections and creek crossings are blazed)
I knew the lake was North & West, and I saw the R2R going South! I ended up taking the 030 to 032 trail without knowing where it went and Camping on a bluff across the lake from the dam.
No idea where Ruby Falls is. At least the one in Southern IL. Maybe on 030 North?
You won’t get this view on the River to River but I took it so here is Bay Lake in the morning.
That tire was along the shore with the washed up debris. If you were a drag racer in the 60’s you know what it was. Hope there isn’t an old drag car down there on the bottom.
I walked on down South 032 until I rejoined the R2R then followed it until it Joined CR463, a gravel county road which goes to Bay Lake. It heads North again and then West where you get a nice view of the backside of Millstone Bluff.
Where 463 curves back North, there is an old roadbed continuing West which is where the R2R goes. The gravel roadbed ends 100ft or so in weeds, (good place to drop off a cache of water before the hike though, which I did) and you get to wade weeds along what looks like a seldom used rabbit trail until you get to a crossing of the creek. There are some big stones here which can be used to cross if you are lucky, and crazy like I was. I used my stick, took off my shoes & socks and made it, only to lose the trail in weeds and just continue North until it cleared up some and I found the trail again thanks to one person on a horse who left hoof prints. The R2R trail never even skirts an area where you can see the lake.
You see, even though the crossing is dangerous and you take a big risk stepping into muddy water hoping your foot will hit rock before you go under, it is on the map, so I went. Then got to the clear area upstream of the lake dam spillway and realized the water was all overflow from the lake and the creek upstream was barely even trickling. D’ouh!
If you take the deep water crossing You will miss the dam, the lake view, the washed out spillway rock formations and possibly get hurt and at least soaked. If it’s hot enough that isn’t all bad. If you decide to bypass the crossing, Take the access road up to the parking area.
A side note:
Take the time to head up the access road towards the lake even if you are sticking strictly to the trail. The rock formations at the emergency spillway that were uncovered over the recent years by flooding are magnificent. There is some lake leakage through them that may someday become a serious problem. IL doesn’t have the money to fix it I don’t imagine and someday the access road may wash out
A quick video I took a couple of days ago.
From the top
Then up across the dam. At the North end of the dam, take the path Left. You will see the 049 White diamond blaze.
follow 049 until it crosses the creek at the double square Railroad Ridge drain culvert and you will be back on the R2R without the weeds and rapids crossing drama.
Go up the hill North along the gravel trail to the “Whistle” and cross under the Railroad. If you are traveling East, when you cross under the tracks through the “whistle” you will want to cross the creek and take 049 up the bluff to the South to the lake dam.
The only thing you missed was some kind of cool drainage culverts under the railroad track ridge that runs West of the lake parallel with the dam North. Not sure they have printed enough money to make me try and pass under the dark partially caved in looking ones. Hey, snakes have to live somewhere.
You travel up a gravelly slope next to the tracks until you get to the “whistle” That the Rail Road added to let the hikers get to the other side. (I’d call it a big oval culvert, but it IS shaped sorta like a whistle.)
You will see signs for “Cove Hollow” heading North off the R2R, The one closest to the RR tracks is pretty far from the cool formations. The next one is a lot closer. I think there were 3 trails all going there from the R2R trail. I went and looked at it this summer and it is as great as Giant City but entirely different looking. It’s at least a mile one way out of the way I’d guess but well worth the trip if you have the time. Also finally found & tasted Paw Paws there for the first time.
If you are missing that steep loose gravel walk up to the “whistle” don’t worry, it continues on the other side. Through some ok forest, though the trail seems like it climbs a ton. There was a very nice place under a big pine on the trail to get in the shade and take a lunch break. It was the 13th of October but it was a very warm day. We hadn’t had many cold days yet. On down the trail which was horribly marked. Actually it might have been marked nice at one time but the markers here were totally vandalized. There is a big side trail that goes to one side and the post was there where the sign once was. it wasn’t a question of finding the trail, it was figuring which one was it. I think the more traveled trail went to the left and the less traveled went straight. Straight was the R2R after spending an hour going to a dead end. Aren’t vandals fun? I reblazed it this summer.
So eventually you get to a gravel road with a new bridge over a creek and a little further is Trigg Tower Road. BIG parking lot at trailhead. Go left and cross the creek then follow the bluff back North to find the trail climbing it on the right side. The creek crossing might be ok if it is dry, but the trail is vary hard to pickup on the other side since no one goes that way. (Note: The trail has been re routed further South down the road. follow the road a few hundred feet to the marker going up the bank into the woods.) This area is the Gum Springs parking lot, and following the creek to the North on the East side You will come to a rectangular “Plank” of rock hanging over the bluff. Right around here is the yellowish orange buffalo petroglyph that looks like natural moss or something to me I guess because I didn’t spot it.
The trail has been re routed since I have passed through here earlier, When you hit Gum Springs road traveling West bound, take the road South and look for the trail marker to the west a couple hundred feet down the road past the bridge. It follows an old roadbed and is pretty decent.
If Eastbound, just go North on Gum Springs road until you come to the trailhead and take the road East across from the trailhead parking lot.
The tower IS only 1/4 mile off the trail, but the spur trail intersection is poorly marked. Keep an eye out and only go South to see the tower.
This is the last of a series of fire watchtowers. Apparently there was one on Highknob and one on a hill south of The Giant City campground. It is a little wiggly but safe. Great view from the top 360 degrees. Trigg Tower is a must see, but I wouldn’t walk 10 miles of road to get there & back.
And a little blurry movie from my old casio camera.
So continuing on West across the creek, it is rough going for awhile. I remember climbing for what seemed like at leas an hour to the top of a bluff, and expecting a great view, then seeing the trail just went down the other side. I dropped my backpack and went back to the top where there was a side trail and took it to nothing. Then I gave up. It would have been a good view but nothing but thick trees. Don’t know where it was on the map, but you will get there. Crossing now into Map 10.
Going down I did see this unusually big thick old maple.
You will cross a new bridge across a creek, then hit gravel. In a short ways you will cross Gum Springs road and the big trail head parking lot there.
Let me pause here. On this trip I didn’t have time for exploring. The area where the trail crosses Gum Springs road has some great sights to the North just up from the bridge crossing. I took a quick peek at them (9/22/15) and I’ll take my wife there when the leaves start to change. A great short hike (maybe 1/8 mile).
The trail doesn’t end there. I’ve heard it goes North all the way to Camp Ondessauk and Hoggs Bluff(sp?) Which is a great daytrip all by itself. (You can get permission at the office in the off season to hike the grounds at the office)
There are supposed to be petroglyphs there as well, but I can’t see them unless someone is pointing to them. Definitely worth the side trip.
Then I came across an area like Giant City but untraveled. It was probably a couple of miles West of the Gum Springs road area, not far from Garfield lane which connects to Gilead church Road. I’d like to go back sometime and look it over better (did It last weekend (3/15/16) photos on “Whats Going On” page 0) but I was wanting to get to the Maxx Creek area to camp. It really isn’t too far from Simpson blacktop but there is a problem with that…
The photos don’t do it justice because it was so leafy at the time and it was too close to get a good view. If I get back there sometime in the leafoff part of the year I’ll post new photos.
Now, this isn’t something I’m proud of, but the year before, when I went to Jackson Hollow with aching knees, I walked through a field of weeds and got ate up by chiggers. Sometimes you get lucky, other times you are in intense pain & suffering for weeks. That time I was unlucky.
Well, the day before was fine on this trip but this second day, I had to walk through several areas of thick weeds, then more thick weeds, and I wasn’t seeing much to make it seem worthwhile. (before I came to this rocky area after I had called my wife) I was worried about repeating last years pain and it was getting late. I was at least an hour from Simpson Road and it looked like I would end up being on the road or barely in the woods and not be able to make the Maxx creek area. And I hit a half mile of this before I got to the road.
Weeds over my head along a power line right of way and nothing to do but wade them. And I wimped out. I called my wife who hates it when I do these solo hikes and told her I was willing to go home & take a bath ASAP if she would drive the 1 1/2 hrs to pick me up today instead of tomorrow. Well, she was going to surprise me the next day and had got a Hotel room in Marion and could pick me up pretty quickly. So it worked out that she got to Simpson Blacktop about the same time I did (a little side road that angles sharply north off Simpson called Garfield lane which heads south and connects to Gilead Church road on South into Simpson) And I was relieved and feeling good and bad at the same time.
I got to shower and eat at a smorgasbord & spend some away time with my wife. But the next year I was determined to finish the 3 days no matter what. I think that was the Spring trip I took from High Knob to Elizabethtown that was detailed in day 2 Map 1.
I checked it this Spring and the same area was fine. If it is grown up, then at the top of the hill under the power line where it turns West, there is a faint trail on the edge of the woods that will take you all the way to Garfield road out of the weeds.
I didn’t even get any bites to speak of, but that might have been partially because I got a good hot shower soon, or maybe it was luck. I took her to Bay Lake then up to the whistle area the next day and had a picnic at the lake.
My wife & I came back another time and hiked the Maxx creek area, but that will be another page.
I went over there yesterday (3/15/16) and the weeds were all down along the powerline right of way, so I went back & explored the bluffs about 1/2 mile East of Gilead Church/ Garfield road. Nice area to explore.
On to Max Creek!