Lower Cache River Swamp Trail

Lower Cache River Access Ullin

Southernmost Illinois
Written By Southernmost Illinois

Explore Shawnee Forest Country!

Imagine paddling through six miles of tupelo-cypress swamp while being serenaded by tree frogs at dusk. Or hiking waterside to the more than 1,000 year-old State Champion Bald Cypress Tree. Sound great? You'll find all this and more at the Lower Cache River Swamp Trail.

Whether traveling by canoe or on foot, the marked trail is flanked by some of the oldest trees east of the Mississippi. Spy eagles, owls, hawk, osprey and other flying friends soaring overhead. Encounter abundant aquatic life during your visit, including numerous species of water snakes and ghost shrimp. On shore, catch a glimpse of mink, possum, beaver, deer, and other mammals.

By Water

If you decide to paddle through paradise, you'll enjoy easy, flat water on a marked canoe route with no canoe shuttling necessary. Canoes or kayaks rentals are available from White Crane Canoe Rental & Guide Service. Call ahead to arrange for a guided tour, where their trained naturalists/wilderness guides reveal the many hidden secrets of this magical place.

If you happen to be in the area during a full moon, you'll want to take advantage of their full moon evening tour, with a different theme each month from March through November.

On Foot

The Lower Cache River Swamp Trail parallels the Cache River and Cypress Creek, letting you enjoy views of the cypress and tupelo swamp by foot. This 2.5-mile easy trail is accessible and ends in a viewing platform that offers the best view of the State Champion Bald Cypress tree. It stands 73 feet tall, has a trunk circumference of over 34 feet, and boasts a crown spread of 35 feet. It also has many "knees," also called pneumatophores. These are cone-like extensions of the root system that help to stabilize the tree and promote aeration.

Access to the Lower Cache River Hiking Trail is found between Route 37 and Perks by following signs off the Perks Blacktop. Keep in mind, there may be times during rainy periods where this trail may be flooded, muddy and impassable. Be sure to visit on a dry day to fully enjoy the spectacular views and wildlife.

Learn about White Crane Canoes' boat rentals and guided tours
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The Cache River Wetlands: Illinois' Hidden Bayou

Lower Cache River Swamp Trail

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