ElevationAscent: 116' 35 m
Descent: -118' -36 m
High: 919' 280 m
Low: 801' 244 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)
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“High Knob Trail is a great short trail to fill in a day running the parks on Karbers Ridge.”— Ed Glass
I've been promoting the trail for a few years trying to renew interest, and just yesterday, I went to map it for the Running Project in a last chance effort to get people back to this park. That's when I met two Forest Service workers who told me it had regained it's official park designation and work was being done to restore the old trail. It's coming back!
At the top, you'll find nice parking for 6-8 vehicles or more if parked along side of the road. This parking spot also has an iconic vista view of the Karbers Ridge hills to the west. On the left you'll find the concrete bases of the old fire watch tower. There's a few picnic tables up here too.
For the trail, head back down the road a few hundred feet and you'll see a brown hiker sign and the entrance to Trail #105. Almost right from the start on #105, you'll head down some old CCC-built rock stairs. Careful here, some are loose. Once at the bottom, look up into the bluff cut for a nice little cave/tunnel you can crawl through to the other side or just stay on the trail if you don't like having fun.
Continuing on #105, you'll be following the base of some very tall bluffs. You're among giants here. Take it all in. You might also notice old fire pits scattered around from this park's former glory days. This is a short trail. Take your time.
Nearing the end of the western facing bluffs, Trail #105 turns up a small crevice with rock steps and heads back toward the parking lot. you can end your adventure here if pressed for time. Want more? Stay on the main trail, which is now Trail #105A.
Trail #105A takes you around the backside or eastern side of High Knob. I'll be honest, it's not quite as exciting as what you just saw. But it's beautiful in it's own way. So, staying on #105A, you'll soon come to an old rotten set of wood stairs. Stay off those! You can scooch down the small rock ledge just to the side. I did use the edge of the old stairs for balance as I went down. Hopefully they'll be replaced soon.
Continuing on past the old stairs, you may start to question your decision to take #105A. It gets better the farther you go. Then you hit this spot that's just magical. Straight in front of you'll be large split bluffs, small fissure caves, and it's always bright green from the moss. The trail kinda meanders through the fallen boulders in a cool way.
Not much farther and #105A turns up a small fissure with rock steps and heads back up to the rear of the parking lot. That small 200 foot section is the only part I would consider strenuous. But it's over now. Have a rest on the picnic tables and take in that gorgeous view.
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Land Manager: USFS - Shawnee National Forest Office
Oct 10, 2019: Learn About Nocturnal Animals at Critter Night