Black Rock Forest
Scenic Trail / Highlands Trail: White / Blue blaze
Total Time: 2:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.2 Miles
Pros: Impressive view, great views, quiet area
Hike Type: Back and out
Level of Difficulty: Difficult in snow conditions
Google Maps of Parking:
I've been to Black Rock Forest before but I've never been to this part before. This is the Westernmost part of the Forest Preserve, and is highly scenic. I was very impressed by the waterfalls as well as the view at the top by the boulder. This is a good climb in a relatively quiet and scenic area. The weather was cold and there was full snow cover in this area which was above the 800 foot line.
I parked on Old Mineral Springs Road, at the Mineral Springs Trailhead. I took the Scenic Trail for a short distance to the waterfalls, which was very impressive. There was a strong water flow because of the recent rains and melting snow, and was surprised at the size of the falls. It is definitely one of the most impressive falls in Highlands Region, and isn't even named on the map!
After appreciating the falls from the bottom at the trail, I climbed up the trail to upper section of the waterfalls, and then continued along the trail alongside Mineral Springs Brook. After the trail veered off the main brook it climbed steeply while passing through an evergreen mountain laurel forest. After that, Jupiter's Boulder came into view. This a large glacial erratic just sitting above the bedrock, with a sweeping view. The rock has distinctive brown patterns that make it resemble the planet Jupiter.
After climbing the rock and spending a few minutes enjoying the view, I continued a bit further to the next trail intersection with the Ryerson Trail. I then turned around and took the same route back to my car.
|Map of the Route|
|Start of the Hike|
|Approaching Mineral Springs Falls|
|Mineral Springs Falls|
|Mineral Springs Falls Middle Falls|
|Mineral Springs Falls Upper Falls|
|Mineral Springs Brook Trail Crossing|
|Ascending Mt. Rascal|
|View at Jupiter's Boulder|
|Trail Intersection after Jupiter's Boulder|
|View Past Jupiter's Boulder|
|Cool Trees on the Trail|