101st Southern Illinois Waterfall

101st Southern Illinois Waterfall

The photo above (side) has been a long time coming.  It is not so much the photo itself, but the journey.  It could have been several waterfalls that could have been 101st, but everything led me to this one, Saltpeter Cave Falls.

The Storm Arrives

Tropical Storm Alberto, made landfall on the Florida Coast on May 28, 2018.  It would take two more days to reach the eastern half of Southern Illinois.  The weather reports were continually adjusting the path of the storm, so the exact waterfall to photograph was undecided.  My sight was set on the Battery Rock waterfalls that are close to the Ohio River.  To me this seemed a fitting conclusion the series, but it wasn't meant to be.

As I headed out, a storm was over Eddyville and the Lusk Creek Wilderness.  This seemed idea. It was an hour and half drive to Eddyville and there were three potential trailheads that would all lead to waterfalls.  I decided on Frank's Tract just north of Eddyville, because it was the shortest distance to Lusk Creek. 

Something Is Not Right

This whole setup was odd.  On my drive to Eddyville I did not encounter any rain, but as I descended into the valley by foot via Trail 481 an unnamed side-steam was rolling with muddy water.  That was a good sign, but as I got closer to the Natural Bridge Crossing on Lusk Creek, the creek didn't appear any higher than some of my previous visits.  How could this be?

Apparently, it had only rained hard on the south side of the creek and all the side drainage was bringing in water, but it wasn't enough to make Lusk Creek flood.  The muddy water from the drainage of 481, just barely tinged the clear waters of Lusk Creek.

My hopes of photographing a good waterfall were low now.  I crossed Lusk Creek, then crossed again at Saltpeter Cave.  What I heard boasted my spirits.  Water falling could be heard just to the left of the cave.  As I turned the corner, there it was, waterfall 101.

The Payoff

It was only the previous month, that I had scouted the area and found this waterfall.  There is actually two waterfalls here and I thought the first one would be the more photogenic, but it was barely running on the day I arrived to photograph 101.

The setup was better than I could have imagined.  A large boulder with a small cascade framed the foreground while a tall, thin waterfall plunged in the background.  I climbed the slippery rocks and ascended a boulder.  I triggered the shutter via my smartphone, thus completing a 15-year journey that has taken me into the very depths of Southern Illinois.


So this is the end of my waterfall chasing.  Yeah right! After spending time at 101, I crossed to the next valley and photographed waterfall 102 and 103.  Waterfall 102 was more photogenic than 101, but that photo is for another day. 

So, the journey continues and a new goal has been set.  How about 125 Southern Illinois Waterfalls.  Yeah, that sounds good! 

Waterfall Safety


Approx. GPS Coordinates  N 37.53331 W 088.54883

Approx. GPS Coordinates N 37.53331 W 088.54883

Saltpeter Cave Falls - Lusk Creek Wilderness

Brothers, do not be childern in your thinking.  Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.  - 1 Corinthians 14:20