The Cache River State Natural Area, located in Southern Illinois, is 14,960 acres managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. A canoe might be the best way to explore the wetlands, but there are also multiple access points with hiking trails and boardwalks.

Heron Pond

Famous for it’s cypress swamp environment, Heron Pond is an easy walk on a well-maintained path and boardwalk.  This area features a swamp boardwalk, State Champion cherrybark oak tree, historic sites, wildlife, and wildflowers.

Looks like a bumper crop year for Poison Ivy.

This is the State Champion Cherrybark Oak tree.  Because it’s located in the yard of a historic homestead site, it wasn’t logged like the surrounding forest.

Heron Pond is a great spot for wildflowers and animals.

Woods Nature Preserve

On the west side of the Natural Area is a short boardwalk through seasonal wetlands.  The main attraction is the State Champion Water Tupelo tree.

Only a few feet from the boardwalk, this Water Tupelo tree is over 1,000 years old.


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