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Hiking Trails

The Cache River State Natural Area features more than 18 miles of designated hiking trails, providing opportunities to explore cypress and tupelo swamps, sandstone bluffs, floodplain forests, hillside glades and barrens. The Tunnel Hill State Trail, a 45-mile bicycle and hiking trail running between Harrisburg and Karnak, passes through five miles of the Cache River State Natural Area, providing expanded opportunities for hikers and cyclists.

 

Cypress Creek Wildlife Refuge offers two additional options:  Limekiln Springs, a moderately difficult 2.5 mile trail featuring limestone outcrops, floodplain forest, multiple springs and two boardwalks for viewing the swamp; and Hickory Bottoms, a one-mile trail through a mature lowlands forest.

 

Other recommended trails include:

 

Todd Fink-Heron Pond Trail (1.5 miles). This easy trail crosses a truss bridge over the Cache and features a floating boardwalk in the middle of one of the most beautiful and accessible cypress-tupelo swamps in the Midwest. A signature destination for most visitors to the Cache.

 

Big Cypress Access (250 feet). This short trail through a floodplain forest takes visitors past the famous “Winnie-the-Pooh” tree, and to a bald cypress more than 1,000 years old with a base circumference of more than 40 feet.

 

Tupelo Trail (2.5 miles). This moderately difficult trail begins a quarter-mile north of the Marshall Ridge Access area and provides excellent views of oak-hickory forest and swamp.

 

Wildcat Bluff (1 mile). Running along the edge of a high-quality hillside barrens, Lookout Point Trail provides a spectacular view of the Cache River, its swamps and floodplain forest.

 

Little Black Slough Trail (5.5 miles). Reached via the Heron Pond, Wildcat Bluff or Marshall Ridge access areas, this moderately difficult trail features swamps, sandstone bluffs, floodplain forests and hillside glades. A rock ford on the Cache River, which can be difficult to cross during high water, gives hikers access to Boss Island.

   

Hiking in the Cache River Wetlands can be enjoyed throughout the year, as long as you dress for the weather and wear sturdy and comfortable walking shoes. Keep in mind that some trails may be muddy or inaccessible during extended periods of wet weather. For trail maps and additional information, call the Cache River Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064 or Cypress Creek Refuge Office at 618-634-2231.