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Little Grand Canyon Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.6 (17)

A short loop through some of Southern Illinois' interesting geology.


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Map Key

3.0

Miles

4.9

KM

Loop

738' 225 m

High

373' 114 m

Low

529' 161 m

Up

527' 161 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

20%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

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.

Description

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Ryan Georgi with improvements by Amie S

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 17 votes

#283

Overall
  4.6 from 17 votes
5 Star
65%
4 Star
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3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in Illinois

#283

Overall
24 Views Last Month
2,608 Since Oct 10, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

The slick scramble down from the ridge into the canyon.
Oct 10, 2016 near Murphys…, IL
A bit of a scramble up the old, worn sandstone up from the floodplain.
Oct 10, 2016 near Murphys…, IL
Some of the bizarre, organic shapes carved into the sandstone of the cliffs lining the riverbanks.
Oct 10, 2016 near Murphys…, IL
Hiking through one of the tributary-carved canyons.
Oct 10, 2016 near Murphys…, IL
The quiet, forested ridgeline leading away from the Parking lot.
Oct 10, 2016 near Murphys…, IL
View from the Chalk Bluff out across the Big Muddy River valley and beyond.
Oct 10, 2016 near Murphys…, IL

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 6 hours ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Nov 12, 2020
Katie Best
Jul 18, 2020
Jack A
May 31, 2020
Rick Ihnat
A really pretty hike. going up and down the slippery draws is unusual. Fun to watch the swallows flying back and forth to their nests on the bluf… 3mi
Nov 17, 2019
Jaycee Antonio
3mi — 1h 16m
Oct 19, 2019
Todd Kostecki
Aug 11, 2019
Jaycee Antonio
3mi — 1h 56m
May 25, 2019
Lety Hernandez
Didn't loop, flooded
Sep 22, 2018
Harsh Pandey