Eagle Mountain Bluff Trail FSR 1454

Total Miles
1.2

Elevation

261.70 ft

Duration

1 Hours

Technical Rating

6

Moderate

Best Time

Summer, Fall

Trail Overview

The Eagle Mountain Bluff Trail, also known as the north end of Horton Hill FSR 1454 or possibly as Hitching Post, is a natural terrain (USFS graded as a low standard rough - high clearance) through the Eagle Mountain area of the Hidden Springs sector of Shawnee National Forest. This trail is Illinois' most notorious forestry road, considered by locals to be the best of the best of Illinois' public land trail riding, and is an honest achievement to have on your resume. When approached going from north to south, the trail starts off very rocky, containing some steep drop-offs and a few sections of slick rock, this is then followed by dirt-bottomed roads (if dry) and countless mudholes and off-camber ruts, most of the very deep pits (peanut butter consistency mud) can be mostly bypassed, but out here the bypasses have bypasses, that also have bypasses. It can feel like a maze at the intersections of mud, but with some thought and scouting out these areas beforehand, you can make it through only hitting the mildly deep stuff. Towards the end you run into the powerline trunk line, where the trail follows along, going down a naturally loose rock and dirt-bottomed road, descending down to the bluff, overlooking westward towards Southern Illinois.

Difficulty

Firstly, not stock friendly, second bring a friend, at minimum have several ways to recover yourself, a winch, tree saver, and tow rope at a minimum should be on your vehicle for this trail, recommend 32"+ tire size with plenty of flex and articulation. The difficulty in this trail is the deep mud, and how easily it can appear harmless, it isn't, you sink fast and the bottoms have low to no traction, if your tires can even reach the bottom. If you choose to go for it, be sure to stick test the holes first, the range experienced, in a dry spell for the area, was 1-4 feet deep. The 1-foot deep ones were manageable with some momentum, but even in those, there were times it was a struggle to get to the other end. Just be cautious of the depth of the mud holes, it is suggested to bypass as much as possible. Be ready to experience several off-camber spots along the way going over water channelized ruts and washes, all amongst tight trees and curves weaving their way through the forest, Pinstriping will most definitely happen on this trail. The rock sections on the trail feature 18" to 24" rock ledges, and there were a few 3' plus tall slick rock obstacles, it is a good medium (30-40 degrees) in terms of how steep these slick rocks were but did include good tire placement and potential spotting due to off-camber spots. The powerline trunk features course natural rock (golf - softball in size), that is laying loosely in the water-eroded path as you descend down a steep grade to the bluff. The Trail is given a 6/10 due to the large slick rocks and the depth of the deep mud holes, and how generally tight it is, if you pick wise lines and avoid the mud holes, it could drop to more like a 5/10, but if the conditions are wet in the area, the difficulty would only increase above the 6/10 rating as the mud holes fill with water and expand in length and the normal dirt road sections of the trail become muddy and lose traction.

Technical Rating

6

Status Reports

Chris Menz
Dec 09, 2023
1999 Jeep Cherokee
Temporarily Closed
Seasonal Closure
Chris Menz
Sep 04, 2023
1999 Jeep Cherokee
Open
Normal

Access Description

From Harrisburg, IL at the intersection of US Route 45 and Illinois Route 13, at 37.74157, -88.52920, drive 5.1 miles east on IL-13, turn right onto College Rd, at 37.73987, -88.43832, drive .8 mile south, turn left onto Pebble Rd, drive .3 mile turn right onto Berry Rd, follow it for 1.7 miles, turn right onto Rocky Branch Rd, continue south for 2.6 miles, merge right onto Horseshoe Rd, continue south for .4 miles, turn left onto Stoneface Rd, continue for .3 miles, turn left onto Eagle Mountain Fire Rd at 37.68343, -88.42824, follow this road south for 1.5 miles and the trail entrance will be on your right at 37.66785, -88.42552. From Herrod, IL at Illinois Route 45, at 37.58032, -88.43638, head north on Gape Hollow Road for 3.6 miles, turn left at 37.62548, -88.41137, onto Eagle Mountain Fire Road, follow this north for 3.6 miles, the trail entrance will be on your left at 37.66785, -88.42552.

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