The United States Congress designated the Clear Springs Wilderness (map
) in 1990 and it now has a total of 4,739 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Illinois
and is managed by the Forest Service.
The Clear Springs Wilderness is bordered by
the Bald Knob Wilderness
to the southeast.
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.