The United States Congress designated the Bald Knob Wilderness (map
) in 1990 and it now has a total of 5,800 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Illinois
and is managed by the Forest Service.
The Bald Knob Wilderness is bordered by
the Clear Springs Wilderness
to the northwest.
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.