Monroe County High Point Trip Report

Date: June 2, 2002
Author: John Mitchler

This highpoint is on beautiful limestone Mississippi River bluffs, south of St. Louis in southwest IL and requires a stiff hike best done in winter, when the views aren't covered by leaves and the poison ivy & nettle is gone. The town of Valmeyer is shown on the topo at the base of the bluffs, but a flood wiped out the town and it has been relocated to the bluff top just north of Dennis Hollow, east of the extinct townsite. Huge quarries are dug into the bluffs. Jon Mann's trip report describes how to get to the bluff top but this is the incorrect highpoint area.

From the junction of IL3 & IL156 in Waterloo, go 7 miles to the new town of Valmeyer which on the topo is the road intersection with spot elevation 733 (west of the Comm Tower in section 1). The dark circle west of this road is the south water tower. I followed Jon's report, turning on South Meyer Avenue before the Fountain water tower going 0.7 mile to West Woodland Ridge Avenue and turned left at St. Mary Catholic Church. After 0.3 mile, W. Woodland Ridge Road ends with 3 houses on the bluff (west) side with the Valmeyer water tower across the street.

I spoke to owners at 222 Woodland Ridge Road (Ray & Jean Langsdorf) and their son works at city hall and can get better maps if we need them. However I believe the rise in their backyard is not the highpoint in section 3.

Instead, take IL156 west down Dennis Hollow to the base of the bluffs and into the extinct town of Valmeyer, turning right (north) on Bluff Road. This is 2.3 miles from Meyer Avenue up on the bluff top. From IL156 go 0.5 mile to Bluff Road and turn right (east) towards the bluffs and some impressive limestone quarry caverns. From the chain across the road, you can choose approaches. Either follow the road back into the quarry area and follow the drainage north past "caves" on the topo (just west of "3" on the topo), or you can immediately ascend the ridge (just west of "quarries" on the topo) by going up the ridge 100' before the road curves (under powerlines).

Follow the ridge for a bit more than 1/2 mile, watching the topo contours carefully. Note the dip just southwest of the highpoint. Although still wooded, you can see that the summit has been graded. The land is highest by the cliff. There is a 3-inch blue solid metal US post there.

Ken Oeser should like to look for caves in this area and marvel at the huge caverns carved by limestone miners, however, mine environments are dangerous, especially abandoned ones like this.