Heron Pond Trail

Heron Pond Ln Belknap

Southernmost Illinois
Written By Southernmost Illinois

Explore Shawnee Forest Country!

This 1.5 mile easy trail is a must-do destination at the Cache. It features a truss bridge overlooking the river and a floating boardwalk that leads you to the middle of Heron Pond’s cypress grove. Even better, there are 10 interpretive panels located along the trail to guide your way.

This floating boardwalk especially should not be missed. It takes you out into the cypress/tupelo swamp so that you can experience the breathtaking other-worldly feel of this beautiful wetland.

You can retrace your steps, or for a longer hike, follow the trail as it skirts the swamp and eventually leads to the State Champion Cherrybark Oak. This gentle giant has over a 22-foot circumference and is more than 100 feet tall.

Wondering why 12 of the state record trees are in the Cache River wetlands? It's because the climate in Southern Illinois is less harsh than the rest of the state, so the growing season is longer. Also, less people means less development and more timber in the southern half of the state. See how many giants you can visit!

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The Cache River Wetlands: Illinois' Hidden Bayou

Heron Pond Trail

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