Shawnee bikepack v2.2: Logistics

Other posts about this trip

Saturday - hike-a-bikepack
Saturday - recitation of woes
Trail magic


There's room for 2-3 cars in the gravel parking area.
Since we weren't sure about where it would be ok to leave the Jeep overnight in Alto Pass (and didn't ask around), we ended up parking at the River to River trail Godwin Trailhead. It added about 3 mostly paved miles to our initial plans but since those miles were all on the R2R route I'd consider that a win.

Riding this route in reverse, you can leave your car at the maintenance building parking area at Ferne Clyffe.


We camped one night near the trail around Cedar Lake (no services) and one night at the Ferne Clyffe State Park campground (showerhouse + electricity).

Food and other services:

Alto Pass:

  • Convenience store downtown with a small variety of packaged and refrigerated foods as well as a small deli counter. We didn't stop there this trip because it was basically the beginning/end of our ride, but they were super nice and friendly the two times I've been in there.
  • Water and bathrooms are available at the city park downtown.
  • The Rootbeer Saloon, which hasn't been open any of the four times I've ridden through Alto Pass.
Cedar Lake:
Established campsite at Cedar Lake

  • There are a few established campsites between the dam and the spillway. Treatable water in the lake.


  • There's a small coffee shop on the boardwalk. Our experience wasn't good there, but maybe yours would be better. 
  • Giant City State Park has a campground, a visitor's center with water and bathrooms, and a Lodge with rooms and a restaurant.


  • Ferne Clyffe State Park has a campground with electricity, water, and a showerhouse as well as a backpacker's (primitive) campground.
  • Multiple restaurants
  • Dollar General 
  • Acee's gas station has a limited amount of camping supplies and a food counter.
  • Google tells me there's a grocery store.
  • Apparently the local Methodist church hosts passing cyclists, but I don't have any info on how you'd connect with them unless you luck into a friendly person telling you.

Routing, mileage, and maps:

  • The best resource I've found is It's full of pictures and notes about each trail section. It links to annotated forest service maps. Our route covered maps 24 - 17.
  • Be aware that despite having maps and a GPS track available, riding/hiking the trail will require route finding in multiple places. 
  • Our mileage from Godwin Trailhead to Goreville (via trail where available): 41.8 miles.
  • Mileage from Goreville back to the Godwin trailhead (no singletrack): 38.5 miles.
  • My strava links:


  • Cell service is pretty reliable in Goreville and spotty everywhere else.
  • The trail around Cedar Lake is pretty rideable and fun. Savor it!
  • Though I have yet to encounter anyone else on the River to River trail, it is a multi-use trail that gets equestrian and hiker use far more than bikes. Be prepared to yield to other users...and don't worry, you probably won't be going fast enough to mind, anyway.
  • The roads vary from pavement to gravel to dirt/grass forest roads to deeply rutted jeep roads to the vague suggestion that once upon a time a road passed through here. Obviously your travel time will depend greatly on the type and condition of the road.
  • Along those lines, be aware that you may encounter jeeps or dirt bikes in some areas.
  • Bikes: I rode my Salsa Fargo, Chuck brought his Salsa Cutthroat. We were both happy with our choice of bike, and I don't think I'd have been able to ride anything more on my Xcaliber (with front suspension) that I did on the Fargo.
  • Revelate Sweet Roll: 2-person backpacking tent and rain fly.
  • Cheapie Moosetreks frame bag off of Amazon - I'll be buying a more custom frame bag but wanted something right now -- tent stakes, hygiene items, JetBoil, bug repellant, some food, ?
  • Revelate gas tank: I think just snacks
  • Blackburn outpost seat bag: (actually just the harness for the dry bag, which stayed at my house along with my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and long-sleeved shirt). Tent poles, camp pillow, arm and knee warmers, 2 extra short-sleeved tshirts and socks, shorts for sleeping, tarp and camp towel. While leaving the seat bag dry bag and the things in it home was suboptimal, it was a good learning experience about the flexibility of the harness when used with aftermarket dry bags. It was also a good learning experience about the importance of quality gear, because when I was counting on those Wal-Mart dry bags to keep my only warmth for the night dry I was pretty nervous. As it turned out, they did the job.
  • Osprey Raven 14 hydration pack: 3L of water, food, camp shoes clipped to outside, spare tube, frame pump, patch kit, water purification (iodine tabs), lighter
  • Revelate mountain feed bag: snacks, phone in a baggie.
  • Two extra fork mounted water bottles
  • Things I didn't use:
    • Jet Boil & Mountain House meals - we just bought food along the way. 
    • Tire repair stuff
    • Water purification
    • Extra water bottles
  • Things I wished I'd brought:
    • Um, my sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and long-sleeved shirt. I got a lot of comments after this trip about the need for a packing list, but my problem wasn't forgetting to pack necessities; it was not getting all of my packed items into the car. So the lesson here is about figuring out a system for making sure a) I pack everything I need and then b) I actually bring all of those things.
    • I think this is the first trip I didn't bring an emergency bivvy; it's also the first trip I had the need for it. 
    • A little more resilience and a better sense of adventure.


Popular Posts