“A short loop through some of Southern Illinois' interesting geology.
— Ryan Georgi
Family Friendly: Though the sandstone creekbeds can be a bit slippery, older kids will enjoy the scrambling, and the nice contained loop gives a little something for everything.
A pleasant and rewarding loop starting from the Little Grand Canyon parking lot on Hickory Ridge, the trail first winds along the forested ridge before taking a slippery scramble down the carved sandstone canyon into the eastern portion of the Little Grand Canyon. (Take care, as the seasonal water causes moss to grow in the creekbed and makes this a slippery climb down!) Heading west toward the Big Muddy River, the canyon is full of interesting sandstone bluffs, with intricate formations carved from the side of the bluffs by the years.
As the canyon opens out, the trail turns away from the flood plain and climbs steeply up Chalk Bluff, another potentially slippery scramble. The views from the top of the bluff out to the west are lovely. The trail completes its loop following a gently rolling path along Viney Ridge before returning to the parking lot and picnic area.