Shawnee National Forest
Trail 049 Directions
When traveling from Marion, Illinois, you can follow these instructions on Google Maps to get to the East Trigg Trailhead parking lot. The parking lot is on the west side of the road and it large enough for multiple vehicles and horse trailers. Try to leave room for trucks carrying horse trailers if you can and share the trailhead. There are signs posted stating no overnight camping is allowed. For camping and access to this trail, I recommend Jackson Falls. If you decide to park at East Trigg Trailhead, to access 001T and/or 049, simply cross the road and get on the River to River Trail (Blaze: White diamond, blue i). The first section of the trail appears to be an old roadbed with large water-filled potholes and rugged hiking up and down hills. Use caution and pay attention where you are stepping especially during spring, summer and fall months when snakes are present.
East Trigg Trailhead
Plenty of parking for vehicles as well as trucks and horse trailers.
I’ve hiked the Shawnee National Forest Trail 049 in the past but it was during the summer of last year when everything was grown up and conditions were hot and humid. So I really didn’t get to see everything. I love to hike when it is warm outside but it is also negative because everything is in full bloom and cool sights are completely hidden. So I figured I might as well hike Shawnee National Forest Trail 049 (as well as Cove Hollow Trail 001T for some extra miles) while the leaves were down.
Cove Hollow 001T Video
Cove Hollow 001T Blazes are WHITE DIAMONDS with ‘001T’ written on them. The trail is a few miles long and is fairly marked with blazes.
Cove Hollow Trail 001T
Before getting on the Shawnee National Forest Trail 049, I wanted to add a few extra miles for my trip by hiking Cove Hollow 001T. This is not to be confused with the Cove Hollow trail located at Cedar Creek on the Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District side of the Shawnee National Forest. The 001T trail forks off from the River to River Trail that you take from the East Trigg Trailhead and then it loops back to the River to River Trail before you need to get on Trail 049 so you might as well hike it. There is some nice outcroppings, natural shelters and bluffage to check out as well as pine deserts as usual. When on 001T and you get to the railroad tracks, it gets a bit confusing but the trail loops back to the south of that area. After you get back on R2R, just head east and cross under the tunnel under the rail road tracks known as Tin Whistle.
So there was two unique events that occurred when I hiked the Shawnee National Forest Trail 049. The first event was the fact that it had rain so much around that period that the main creek was too deep to cross. So after going down the hill and reach the dry creek bed from Tin Whistle, I crossed there and got on Trail 049 and went left towards Jackson Falls. I had to backtrack because going past that trail and continuing south on the R2R trail led me to a very deep creek in which I could not manage to get past. The second unique feature was the fact that the Forest Service did a controlled burn not too long ago. There were areas still smoking and it didn’t smell all that well. These burns are needed though for proper land management practices and it made for an awesome video. Another cool thing was that there was a running organization out there re-blazing Trail 049 which is very helpful for those of us who enjoy hiking it. Thanks again you folks, you help make the forest user friendly! 🙂
Trail 049 Video
Trail 049 is blazed well with WHITE DIAMOND blazes with ‘049’ written on them. It does get a little trick when getting into Jackson Falls since there are other trails that interconnect there.
Trail 049 Jackson Falls Video
Trail 049 blazes are present at Jackson Falls but you will have to leave 049 if you want to see most of the waterfall areas of the site. Just remember where you go!
Upon arriving to Jackson Falls, everyone was out that day. It was fairly warm so there was a lot of climbers out inching up the bluffage. I even noticed some climbers there speaking another language that sounded like French which is cool because that means the forest users are diverse. We need that in our forest! Jackson Falls is always best to see during or after rains because that is when all the waterfalls are fairly active. But use some common sense and think about your safety because when it is wet at Jackson Falls, it can be pretty dangerous at Jackson Falls. After exploring the area, I hiked back the way I came and left.
There is more to Shawnee National Forest Trail 049
I recommend watching my first series on the Shawnee National Forest Trail 049 hiking adventure during the summer of last year. It was a drier season back then and I was able to cross creeks to extend my stay on the trail. This recent hike (including the 001T addition) was 9 miles of hiking altogether but with the rest of the 049 added, it can easily turn into a much longer hike with about 15 miles or so in total. My advice is to check the weather and dress appropriately and bring the right gear with you. Bring plenty of fluids and snacks and rest when possible, especially when it is warm. Horse traffic is common on this trail so please yield to horse riders if you come upon them – make noise so that horse don’t get spooked by the sight you.
Shawn J. Gossman
Shawn is the founder and host of the YouTube Channel, Hiking with Shawn as well as Hiking with Shawn LLC. Shawn hikes, backpacks and visits various forested areas in the Shawnee National Forest, local state parks and other areas promoting outdoor recreational activities to obtain video to show to locals and non-locals alike. Please support Shawn’s efforts by sharing this post and leaving a comment below.