Revised September 30, 2001
Jackson Road Trailhead past
Knob, returned by Jackson Road, November 7, 1998
Jackson Road Trailhead to Bowery Creek, doubled back, September 18, 1999
Jackson Road to Pixley Knob Road, returned by gravel roads, September 25, 1999
mile distance from Jackson Road to New Chapel trailheads is
shortened by accessing the KT as it crosses Indiana State Route 160
mile 11.2. This makes it possible to finish the KT without having
to hike further from Jackson Road Trailhead than Pixley Knob Road.
Directions to Jackson
are given in the official KT guide. From the north, take State
160 to Pixley Knob Road, about five miles west of Interstate 65 or
13 miles east of Salem. From the south, exit I-65 at mile 16
Lick Road) and head west toward Blue Lick.
(Note: Pixley Knob Road and Memphis-Blue Lick Road are different names for the same road.)
Turn west on a side road in the town (if you call it that) of Blue Lick, at the corner where the now defunct Blue Lick General Store is located. This would be about two miles from exit 16 of I-65, if coming from the south, or 5.6 miles from SR 160 if coming from the north on Pixley Knob Road.
Follow this road straight past Cemetery Road, then in about 1/2 mile, turn right to continue on the paved road where Reed Road goes straight. (If you pass Willys Chapel in about another mile, you're going the right way; if you miss the turn, Reed Road shortly reverts to gravel.) This road eventually winds its way uphill, crosses the KT, and intersects gravel Jackson Road at a T intersection. Turn right on Jackson Road and then left in about 1/4 mile to enter the KT trailhead parking lot.
To reach the trail, retrace your path right out of the parking lot, and left at the road intersection. It's about 1/2 mile to the KT crossing. Turning right leads steeply downhill toward Berry Run and mile 4, turning left leads steeply downhill toward mile 5 and Bartle Knob Run.
It is also possible to reach the KT by walking left on Jackson Road as you leave the parking lot. Stay right to remain on the road as it forks -- but don't be fooled into turning right at a gravel driveway. You need to walk at least a mile (we did 20 minutes at our pace) along the road to get to a point where the trail parallels the road, about 50 feet to the right in the woods. Then bushwhack your way to the trail! (Don't be fooled by the KT maps which seem to indicate the trail coinciding with or even crossing the road -- this does NOT happen, and you will never reach the trail waiting for it to happen.)
On our first hike in this area, which was our second KT hike, on November 7, 1998, we parked at the trailhead parking lot and hiked back on the roads to the crossing. Because we hadn't gotten as much sleep as we'd hoped the night before, we decided to take a short hike toward mile 5 that we could cut off once we passed Round Knob and paralled Jackson Road. The descent into Bartle Knob Run was moderately steep for about 1/2 mile, and immediately followed by a moderately steep ascent about 300 ft elevation over about 3/4 mile to Round Knob, elevation 1001 ft. We descended slightly from Round Knob and after covering another 1/2 mile or so, we bushwhacked left off the trail, probably about 50 to 100 feet, to reach Jackson Road. Turning left on Jackson Road, we returned to the trailhead parking lot in about a mile. Maria walked along the road on her own two feet, saving Dad a little effort.
Our first KT hike the following year, taken on September 18, 1999, connected the two segments we had already completed. After walking from the parking lot to the trail, we turned right and descended very steeply with switchbacks into Berry Run over the first 1/3 mile, then ascended just as steeply out of the valley to reach the ridge (Bartle Knobs) about mile 4.2. Most of the remaining hike was flat on the ridgetop until we encountered a slight to moderate descent into Bowery Run, near mile 2.2. At this point, Dad realized we'd already passed the point we stopped hiking up from Deam Lake nearly a year before, so we climbed back out and stopped for lunch once we hit the ridgetop again. It may have been the same spot we stopped the year before -- too bad we didn't recognize it!
After lunch, we returned by the same route. Aimee grabbed a hanging poison ivy vine near one tree but apparently suffered no ill effects. On a typically warm day for mid-September in southern Indiana, Mike remembers this as the first hike where he could not keep up with Aimee as they climbed the steep uphill segment out of Berry Run just before returning to the road. Maria just kept getting heavier with each hike, and Mike kept encouraging her more and more to hike on her own two feet, but on this trip she did little of that.
Our last and longest hike in this area was taken the following week, September 25, 1999. Unfortunately, it was even hotter than the week before, but still being new to southern Indiana hiking, we were not accustomed to considering such problems in September. Northern Michigan and north central Pennsylvania were never this hot in September!
We began by following our "unofficial" route to access the KT beyond Round Knob, walking left out of the parking area along Jackson Road for about 20 minutes -- then bushwhacking about 50 to 100 feet off the road to the right in order to reach the trail near mile 6.3. Turning left when we reached the trail, the path stayed relatively flat along the ridgetop as it paralleled the road for about 1/2 mile. We then curved right, away from the road but still along the ridge -- I believe there were some vistas of Louisville along this stretch, near mile marker 7. Then we began to descend somewhat to a pair of small stream crossings within about 1/4 mile of each other. After that, we continued about 1/3 mile, jogged left along gravel Bartle Knob Road then immediately right off the road, and continued past mile marker 8 to another stream crossing. (On the return trip, Maria grabbed a leafy poison ivy plant as she pulled herself up from the streambed, but with no ill effects!)
Mike thought we'd hit Pixley Knob Road soon, but the last half mile seemed to take longer than expected. We climbed slightly then dropped to yet another stream crossing, and climbed slightly again before finally dropping to Pixley Knob Road. After turning around and reentering the woods, we stopped immediately for a snack, then let Maria walk on her own for a while. When we reached the point where the trail jogged left along Bartle Knob road, we turned right to follow the road back uphill, avoiding the undulating up-and-down climbing into the stream bottoms. It seemed like a good idea, as the day continued hot and sunny with temperatures near 80. Maria didn't make it very far along the road before asking to be carried, and although the road was not as steep as some uphill segments of the trail, it followed a constant moderate uphill slope for nearly a mile, it seemed. Finally at the ridgetop, we turned left and followed paved West Road past some farms and horse stables until the point where the paved road made a 90 degree turn to the right. There, we continued straight on the unpaved road (Jackson Road) and within 1/4 to 1/2 mile, recognized the topography of the side ridge where the trail had turned off from the road. From there, it was about 1 1/2 miles back to the parking lot.
MARIA'S HIKING ON HER OWN TWO FEET:
November 7, 1998:
None on the
KT; about a mile along Jackson Road returning to the car.
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