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Location: Shawnee National Forest, In Shawnee NF SW of Carbondale on Forest Rd. 236.
From Jonesboro: Take Highway 146 west 8 miles to Highway 3; then north 8 miles on Highway 3 to Muddy Levee Road. Then west 3 miles to LaRue Rd. to the ‘T’ and turn left.* Proceed 0.4 mile on LaRue Rd. then turn right onto Pine Hills Rd. On the right is the lower
trailhead. Continue on Pine Hills Rd. 0.6 miles to the upper trailhead.
From Murphysboro: Take Highway 149 west 7 miles to Highway 3; then south 14 miles on
Highway 3 to Muddy Levee Road. Then west 3 miles to LaRue Rd. to the ‘T’ and turn left.
Continue at * in directions above.
This trail was traveled by a
NRT Ambassador on 11/10/2019.
Nestled within LaRue-Pine Hills Research Natural Area is Inspiration Point, a National Recreation Trail because of its outstanding scenic qualities and beauty. Its point juts out from the main bluffs, offering a magnificent view of the Mississippi River Valley. Inspiration Point Trail is not a loop trail. Instead, it has two trailheads, both accessible along Pine Hills Road. The shorter, easier walk to the overlook is from the upper trailhead. From the lower trailhead, you wind past trees and wildflowers and climb bluffs.
Width: 30 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil
Secondary Surface: Gravel
Average Grade: 8%
Maximum Grade: 34%
Elevation Low Point: 400
Elevation High Point: 580
Elevation Gain (cumulative): 128 feet
Year Designated: 1980
Supporting Webpages and DocumentsDocument: USFS Trail Map/Overview
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
Shawnee National Forest
Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District
521 North Main
Jonesboro, IL 62952
NRT Ambassador Review
Inspiration Point is a 0.8-mile point-to-point, hiking trail with trailheads and small parking areas at either termini, which are both accessible from Pine Hills Rd. The upper portion of the trail traverses a limestone bluff ridgeline that stands in stark contrast to the Mississippi River Valley below. There are panoramic views of the valley, Big Muddy River levee and wetland areas. The lower portion of the trail descends into the forested bottomlands to McCann Springs.
Inspiration Point is located within the ecologically diverse LaRue-Pine Hills Research Natural Area, known for its infamous “Snake” Road. As such, no camping or campfires are allowed in this area. Pine Hills Rd. also provides access to the River-to-River Trail, picnicking spots and scenic overlooks, and Pine Hills campground.
To note, Inspiration Point itself is actually a rock formation that juts out from the main bluff. However, there is only a social trail that leads to the point, whereas hikers must scramble down a small decline and then walk a short, peninsular track out on the rock. It doesn't appear to be an official, developed trail and could be unsafe, especially in adverse weather conditions, so use best judgement.
This point also is a popular hangout spot, and, unfortunately, the rock has been marred with graffiti. Please leave no trace while on the trail by packing out your trash and minimizing your impacts, so everyone can enjoy the natural beauty of this unique place.
December 6, 2019
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