New Trail Names at Hercules Glades

Be warned — Most of the trails have been re-named.

Back at the beginning of 2018 the majority of the trails at Hercules Glades were renamed. The more I think about it, the more I am coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t a good idea. There are lots of maps, videos, and references online that use the original names. Sooner or later some confusion is bound to arise.

The New Hercules Glades Wilderness Trail Map – USDA Forest Service. March 2018.

The primary reason for putting up new trail markers and names was the cost of search and rescue operations which arose following a couple of recent instances of ill-equipped, and I’m sorry to say, ill-informed, and inexperienced groups of people getting lost at Hercules Glades.

I have a strong suspicion — which may be wrong — that there was insufficient research into the trail’s original names behind this change. I’m not convinced that the large number of pre-existing maps (USGS, Google maps and Ouachita maps  for example), videos, and articles about the glades available online were considered in this decision.

I also suspect some errors may have been made. For example, it is quite easy to see how Pole Hollow could be misread as Pete Hollow if the name were taken from a well-used and semi-legible map. A check of the USGS map online shows Pole Hollow clearly marked. I’ve not (yet) found any reference to Pete Hollow. It would be interesting to find out what the source of the new name was.

 The USGS map online shows Pole Hollow clearly marked. I’ve not (yet) found any reference to Pete Hollow.

It is also possible, and sad, that with the dropping of the original trail names, that the names of some of the local features like the Devil’s Den and Rock Spring might be lost over time.

Rock Spring – Spring Box
Abandoned stone building, Near Rock Spring, Hercules Glades Wilderness

I must (albeit reluctantly) agree that in places the new markers do make hiking easier. For instance, I love the marker on the western end of the Pees Hollow Trail, it’s a trail junction I’ve missed several times in the past. The new trail markers should also help to cut down on the number of trail meanderings that appear as people lose the original trail and make their own routes. Especially in the high traffic areas such as along Long Creek.

The new trail markers clearly show where the trail picks up at creek crossings (Long Creek).

Finally, Hercules Glades is a wilderness, the trails are not supposed to be marked. Reading a map and finding one’s way is part of the challenge of hiking a wilderness.

Hercules Glades — Revised Trail Names

Old Trail NameNew Trail Name
Blair RidgeBlair Ridge
CedarMiddle
Coy Bald Coy Bald
Devil’s DenLower Pilot
Devil’s Den EastUpper Pilot
Long CreekLong Creek – but it takes an extended route along what was Rock Spring Trail
Pees HollowPees Hollow
PilotTower
Rock SpringLong Creek

In the end, whatever the reason for changing the trail names, we are now stuck with two sets of names for most of the trails at Hercules Glades.

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