Illinois •
Island Grove • Grove Township
• Highpoint: Jasper County

St. Joseph's Catholic Church


From the east

From the north

Church & water tower

Date: July 2, 2020 • Elevation: 627 feet • Prominence: 27 feet • Distance: 0.1 mile • Time: 10 minutes • Gain: negligible • Conditions: Sunny and calm


βð and I were driving west on Interstate-70. Today was the exciting leg betwen Terre Haute, Indiana, and Columbia, Missouri. We would have to cross about 150 miles of southern Illinois. I had one county highpoint on the agenda: Jasper County. My rule was any county highpoints would have to be close to the interstate and not require much hiking, as I did not want to take up too much time or battle with brush or multiple areas in farm fields.

Jasper County's highest point is on top a gentle hill on which sits a lovely Catholic Church and a few homes, the crossroads being called Island Grove. I left Interstate-70 in the town of Montrose, going south on the main road through the small town for a little over 4 miles to a road signed for Island Grove, heading east. I drove this road about two and a half miles to top out on the small hill and its big church. I parked in a gravel lot beside the church.

The map suggests the highest points lie north or south of the main east-west road, but when I was there, it was hard to discern anything. I walked all around the church and a big mowed grassy area to the south, then walked the roads north and east of the church, sensing a rise on the north road. The fields were newly planted and I did not walk into them. A woman walking with her small child came by and we had a short chat. She was friendly.

I spent about ten minutes wandering the area. For a highpoint, it was more unusual as the others, with a big modern church on its top, and little else surrounding it. The day was sunny and humid with clouds, but generally calm and enjoyable. I was back to the interstate soon, the side journey taking about 20 minutes. This would be my only stop in Illinois.

Yesterday, our journey through Indiana was less than enjoyable due to the endless construction along Interstate-70. By comparison, Illinois was cake, with almost no construction and generally light traffic. The entire segment in Illinois is farm country, flat with fields and tree breaks.

We entered Missouri and passed through St. Louis with little trouble. I have been in St. Louis just one other time ... exactly 41 years ealier, on July 2, 1979. Yeah, I remember dates. I stopped in Wright City at a Subway for lunch, then caught up to Beth in Columbia at our hotel. Columbia was a dud. Nothing was open and the lady at the counter in the hotel knew absolutely nothing about local places to eat, stores, coffee, et cetera.

The next day, we drove to Lawrence, Kansas, and stayed there two nights, a rest day partly prompted by a bolt in a tire on the Outback that I was driving. We both enjoyed Lawrence, home to the University of Kansas. Our down day was July 4th, and nothing was open. The next day, the 5th, I got the tire patched and we drove to Hays, in west-central Kansas. By now, we were encountering more plains than trees, more ranch and rangeland than farms, a few storms but less humidity. Ever so slowly, we were leaving the Midwest for the West.

(c) 2020 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.