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Bald Knob Wilderness

General Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws


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.

Planning to Visit the Bald Knob Wilderness?

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.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

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