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 Shawnee National Forest Trail 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. Shawnee National Forest Trail 049 can be started here.
Cove Hollow 001T Video
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.
Trail 049 Video
Trail 049 Jackson Falls Video
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