Clear Springs flows heavily into Hutchins Creek, which separates this area from Bald Knob Wilderness to the south. An abandoned farmstead, complete with rusted-over machinery, stands as a reminder of the industry that once supported the economy of this region. Some of the steep slopes, lining V-shaped creek drainages are composed of loose chert (flint) fragments, from which even earlier inhabitants formed tools. On the western boundary you'll discover a spectacular view of the Mississippi and Big Muddy Rivers when you stand on sheer limestone bluffs that rise 400 feet above the valley floor. The deciduous forest, typical of the Ozarks, harbors wild turkeys, deer, and many smaller mammals. You can find threatened (in Illinois) shortleaf pine growing in isolated stands here. Away from the steep valley walls, the hiking rates as easy and pleasant. Many hideaways are ideal spots to set up camp. Permits are not required for trail use or camping.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Clear Springs Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.