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River To River Trail Thru Hike, IL

Apr 20 - May 6, 2022 -- $1875 ★★★, YOU CANNOT REGISTER FOR THIS TRIP YET AS DETAILS ARE NOT FINAL


Backpacking in Illinois? Yes, really! And it's surprisingly scenic.


Join our 158 mile thru hike!


At the Southern end of Illinois, a fairly secluded 158 mile (currently) trail winds its way from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River, visiting bluffs, promonotories, forested equestrian trails, waterfalls and an occasional fire tower. The so-called River To River Trail connects these two eponymous rivers, primarily traversing the Shawnee National Forest. Although muddy in places and occasionally challenging, this is a pretty good destination for first timers as elevation changes aren't dramatic and the trail is punctuated by occasional (but fast to hike) road walks along the way.


If you've ever wanted to complete a thru-hike, this could be the one for you!


Our route will begin in Elizabethtown on the banks of the Ohio River at the historic Rose Hotel. We will progressively visit many of the highlights of the area: High Knob, Garden of the Gods, One Horse Gap, Lusk Natural Area, High Point / Owl Bluff, Millstone Lake and Trigg Tower.


Here are links to the trail guide and to topo maps of the trail



Weather

Weather is always an important concern when backpacking. Historical Spring weather averages 70s and 80s during the day and mid 50s at night, although it could get to 90 or freezing over the trip's 2 week span. Be prepared for rain as well, sometimes in the form of a violent but short-lived thunderstorm.



Probable Trip Leaders

Chris Frey
Steve Silberberg


Cost

$1875 per person double occupancy. Double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant at the beginning of the trip, the end of the trip and the mid-trip hotel night in Vienna, IL. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from St. Louis, MO (STL) as well as personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities for guides.


Covered expenses include 3 hotel nights, campground costs, 15 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, National Forest fees and awesome guides.


Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.



Important Note

The trail might be fairly muddy because of horse traffic


Some photos courtesy of noel


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Packing List
Itinerary
Weather
Guides for this trip
Cost
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
Packing List
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Itinerary


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Fly or drive into St. Louis, MO (STL)


Take free airport shuttle to our local hotel TBD


Equipment shakedown. We go through your stuff and make sure you are prepared for the trail, but are not carrying too much stuff you likely won't need


"Before" body composition measurements taken


Trail mix distribution


Buy last minute and forgotten items at REI, 1703 S Brentwood Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63144, (314) 918-1004


Go out for welcome dinner near the hotel. Dinner not included in trip cost.



Thursday, April 21, 2022

2nd set of before body composition measurements taken


Free breakfast at hotel


Store all items you won't bring on the trail at either the hotel or a nearby storage unit


Drive / shuttle 2.5 hours to the River To River Trail in Elizabethtown, Illinois


The River-to-River Trail begins on the bank of the Ohio River near the historic Rose Hotel.


Hike 3.6 miles to Lake Tecumseh Dam, elevation 400'


Hike 1.2 miles to Iron Furnace Rd., elevation 400'


Drop packs and day-Hike 0.5 miles round trip to Iron Furnace Historic Site (N37° 29.830' W88° 19.426') just past the bridge across Big Creek, a popular swimming hole. Restrooms available here.


Hike 3.9 miles to unnamed campsite at 16S 0384214E, 4154929N (37.53407922374257, -88.31050956490229) (N37° 32' 03', W88° 13' 38')


Camp at the unnamed campsite at 16S 0384214E, 4154929N (37.53407922374257, -88.31050956490229) (N37° 32' 03', W88° 13' 38')


Mileage Today: 9.2. Total mileage: 9.2


Possible bailout: Elizabethtonw, Iron Furnace


Friday, April 22, 2022

Hike 2.1 miles to Highway 12 / Bassett Rd., elevation 550'


Hike 3.0 miles to Camp Cadiz Rd. / Highway 7, elevation 500'


Hike 0.5 miles to Karber's Ridge Road, elevation 500'


Hike 0.9 miles to Battery Rock Trail, elevation 800'


Hike 3.0 miles to High Knob Horse Camp, Campground, Camp Store available High Knob is 900'


Camp at High Knob Horse Camp.


Mileage Today: 9.5. Total mileage: 18.7


Possible bailout: Karber's Ridge Rd., High Knob Rd.


Saturday, April 23, 2022

Hike 1.8 miles to the Garden of the Gods road crossing


Hike 2.3 miles to trail 001A


Drop packs and day-hike about 0.5 miles on 001A to the Big H arch


Hike 5.3 miles to Herod


There is a hiker friendly house on the road where we can take a break in their Gazebo. In 2016, we were able to wait out a rain storm and stay dry here.


Hike 2.0 miles on Williams Hill Rd to Campsite (37°33'34.1"N 88°27'09.4"W, 316S 0371701 E 4157931 N)


Camp at Campsite (37°33'34.1"N 88°27'09.4"W, 316S 0371701 E 4157931 N)


Mileage Today: 11.9. Total mileage: 30.6


Possible bailout: Herod


Sunday, April 24, 2022

Hike 4.6 Miles to One Horse Gap


Hike 4.8 miles to Concord Cenetary


Hike 1.1 miles to Bethesda Cemetary


Hike 1.3 miles to Little Lusk Creek


Hike 1.1 miles to unnamed campsite just before a creek and some rock bluffs to the West


Camp at unnamed campsite just before a creek and some rock bluffs to the West


Mileage Today: 12.9. Total mileage: 43.4


Possible bailout: Raum Rd.


Monday, April 25, 2022

Hike 4.8 miles to Owl Bluff / High Point. There is a great lookout view 100 feet West of the trail. Nice place for lunch


Hike 0.7 to Bowed Creek Crossing, Lusk Creek


Hike 2.2 miles to New Home Road


Cross Bear Branch and hike 0.1 miles on trail 472 to unmarked campsite


Dispersed camp near surface water practicing Leave No Trace


Mileage Today: 7.8. Total mileage: 51.1


Possible bailout: New Home Rd.


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Hike 0.1 miles on trail 472 to New Home Road


Hike 2.7 miles to US 145


Optional: Hike 0.5 round trip miles to the Shawnee Mart Convenience Store. Restrooms available here.


Stop to have breakfast in Eddyville (included in trip cost)


Hike 1.1 miles to Hayes Creek Canyon Trailhead


Hike 2.5 miles to Petticoat Junction. Note the petticoats hanging in the trees


Hike 6.9 miles to Millstone Lake Dam


Camp at Millstone Lake


Mileage Today: 13.2. Total mileage: 64.5


Possible bailout: Eddyville



Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Hike 0.5 miles to Tin Whistle Tunnel. Yee haw, a tunnel under a railroad!


Hike 4.0 miles to Trigg Tower Trail turnoff


Drop packs, turn left and hike 1.0 round trip miles to Trigg Fire Tower with great views


Hike 1.2 miles to Gum Springs Trailhead


Hike 2.7 miles to Horse Tie-up


Hike 0.8 miles to Garfield Lane @ Boot Ranch


Hike 1.7 to Max Creek Trail Entrance (Hilltop Lane)


Hike 0.9 miles to Max Creek Crossing


Camp at Max Creek


Mileage Today: 12.8. Total mileage: 77.3


Possible bailout: Trigg Tower Rd., Garfield Lane



Thursday, April 28, 2022

Hike 1.3 miles to Taylor Ridge Road


Hike 2.7 miles to where the trail turns off of US 45


Get an Uber/Cab to Hotel 7 Vienna


Check into the Hotel 7 Inn of Vienna, 709 East Vine Street, Vienna, IL 62995, (618) 658-6300, vienna@hotel7inn.com


Go to dinner in town (not included in trip cost)


Mileage Today: 4.0. Total mileage: 81.3


Possible bailout: Vienna, IL



Friday, April 29, 2022

Free Hotel 7 breakfast


Late check out of Hotel 7


Get an Uber/Cab back to the River 2 River Trail at Goddard Crossing


Hike 2.2 miles to Tunnel Hill Bike Trail


Hike 1.7 miles to Bowman Bottoms Road


Hike 1.6 miles to Dutchman Lake Boat Ramp


Camp at Livesay Spring


Mileage Today: 5.1. Total mileage: 86.8


Possible bailout: Vienna, IL



Saturday, April 30, 2022

Hike 1.9 miles to Twinz Lane


Road walk 5.1 miles to Ferne Clyff State Park parking area


Hike 1.1 miles to Ferne Clyff Backpacker Camp


Camp at Ferne Clyff Backpacker Camping Area, $8/person (included in trip cost), showers, pit toilet


Mileage Today: 8.1. Total mileage: 94.9


Possible bailout: Route 37



Sunday, May 1, 2022

This will be our longest mileage day of the trip


Hike 5.0 miles to Crawford Ave


Road Walk 2.3 miles to Happy Hollow Trailhead


Hike 2.1 miles to Regent Lane


Road walk 6.0 miles to Panther Den Trailhead


Hike about 1.0 miles to Panther Den City


Camp at Panther Den City, lots of campsites here


Mileage Today: 16.4. Total mileage: 111.3


Possible bailout: Almost anywhere in the 8.3 miles of road walks today



Monday, May 2, 2022

Hike 8.1 miles to Antioch Cemetary


Hike 1.8 miles to Giant City camping area turnoff


Hike 0.3 miles to Giant City Campground


Camp at Giant City


Mileage Today: 10.2. Total mileage: 121.5


Possible bailout: Rocky Comfort Rd.



Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Hike 0.3 miles back to River to River Trail


Hike 4.4 miles to Makanda Road


Hike 4.2 road miles to Lirley Cemetary trailhead at Rowan Rd.


Hike 4.0 miles to Cedar Lake


Camp at Cedar Lake


Mileage Today: 12.9. Total mileage: 134.4


Possible bailout: US Route 51



Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Hike 3.3 miles to Alto Pass Waterworks Rd (Cedar St)


Road Walk 1.3 miles to downtown Alto Pass


Road Walk 3.0 miles to the Godwin Trail


Hike 3.0 miles to Hutchins Creek


Hike 3.4 miles to Pine Hills Road


Hike 1.2 miles to McCann Springs Trailhead


Dispersed Camp at-large somewhere in this area practicing Leave No Trace principles


Mileage Today: 15.2. Total mileage: 149.6


Possible bailout: Alto Pass



Thursday, May 5, 2022

Road Walk 9.9 miles to the Western Terminus of the River to River Trail, Grand Tower. Inexplicably there is a campsite here, but happily we're headed back to St. Louis.


End of hiking


Mileage Today: 9.9. Total mileage: 159.5


Shuttle back to St. Louis


Check back into local hotel TBD


"After" measurements taken


Go out to a restaurant for a celebratory dinner (dinner cost not included in trip cost)


Awards Ceremony


This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.


Friday, May 6, 2022

Check out of Hotel


Take Free airport shuttle (Covid depending)


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