The trail is being rerouted on the West side of Owl Bluff. I’ll hike it soon and update the page & map
Makanda to Route 51 is now cleared & blazed. (after 3 days of hard work, Map 19) It is a pretty decent hike through some shady woods though it has a few hills. Nice creek at the bottom and a much safer route than walking Makanda road.
The Cedar Grove Church Road to Bay Lake is blazed now.
The official trail crosses the creek downstream of the Bay Lake spillway. (Map 9) This is a , dangerous rock crossing in rushing water, and when you get to the spillway upstream, you will see that the creek is easily crossed upstream. You can cross there easy if the water isn’t high.
On the other hand, walking on up the access road will take you over the dam and let you see the neat rock formations uncovered by the flood of 2008, and see the lake which is beautiful. Then take the road to the left when you cross the dam and cross the creek where the apparently 1000’s of 4 wheelers do.
Heading West, when you reach the huge parking lot at Gum Springs Road, you simply walk South down the road a few hundred feet and find the trail from there without all the weeds & drama that used to be there when you crossed the creek. (Map 10)
The Rt. 45 and Goddards Crossing area has absolutely no place to park. (Map11) My solution & suggestion is to park at the Tunnel Hill parking lot, walk through the tunnel and turn left at the next county road and walk over to Rt.45 and down, or if walking a county highway to see a couple miles of trail starting at the crossing isn’t important to you, just walk the Tunnel Hill trail down to the river to river crossing at the Little Cache No.1 Lake Spillway. I won’t tell.
(UPDATE!!! ) I was talking to a Lady at Taylor Farms across the highway from where Taylor Ridge Road comes out on RT45 and she said if a person contacts them for permission, you can park at their place. Don’t have her number, sorry.
The Dutchman Lake trail used to go down the access road, now when you get to the end of Fishing Hole Road, there is a trail marker right there at the intersection. I was a little disappointed to see it mostly follows an old abandoned roadbed and never gets to the Lake until you are almost to the west end of the main part. Great picnic area there where it does come out at the Dam. Just walk the access road if the trail is too grown up with weeds for you. On the other hand if you like persimmons. There are a few trees along the trail here if the season is right (like now).
The trail on the map (Map 15) is abandoned where it takes you up Martin Cave Lane!!!!!!! There is no sign there one way or the other. After hiking all the way to the end, you will see where it used to be.
You can’t get lost even though there is no trail because there is barbed wire on both sides of you. Once you descend to the valley floor and follow the creek, you will eventually find the River to River trail. OR>>>>>>>>>>
The new route just follows Happy Hollow Road to the south at Martin Cave Lane intersection. It turns west and comes to a nice large gravel parking lot with lots of nice signage. You take it down a nice well marked section to the valley floor where you might find some weary confused hikers who went the way the map told them to. There really needs to be a blaze at the head of Martin Cave leaning left to direct you to continue on Happy Hollow Road.
I would like to clear the Martin Cave Lane route as it isn’t all that overgrown and it is a very nice route along an old roadbed with some CCC work along the way and some interesting bluffs you miss by traveling Happy Hollow road. The advantage of the new route is the trailhead parking lot, but through hikers would be happier traveling the old route if it is reopened as a alternate.
I would like this to become eventually, sort of a dynamic trail guide. While printed trail guides are great for taking along, they have one big drawback. They are often years or even decades out of date. The trail keeps changing. Conditions change, even the course changes. I would like it if people who have hiked a section and have encountered changes or problems would leave a comment so I could update the sections, and post a notice on the site. Things might even get done in problem areas. Stranger things have happened.