Bald Knob is located at the farthest extreme of the Ozark Uplift. It is separated only by an abandoned dirt road from Clear Springs Wilderness. Together these two wilderness' create a very large area for a backcountry experience. The old road follows spring-fed Hutchins Creek, which is rated one of the highest-quality waterways in Illinois. Hutchins Creek has formed a wide, flat valley, unlike most found in the Ozarks. Beyond the creek, the landscape becomes more typical, with high relief, steep slopes (some exceeding 70 degrees), rocky bluffs, and sharp V-shaped creek drainages. If you explore Bald Knob Wilderness, you'll traverse secluded little valleys virtually untouched by humans. Here a mixture of deciduous trees shade the ground on hot summer days and the hiking is easy. Outside of the valleys, the going gets tougher. Permits are not required for trail use or camping. Bald Knob takes its name from a high rise of ground on the east side that has a large, bold white cross erected on top of it. The cross, located on private property, is visible from many points within the area.
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 Bald Knob 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.