While staying in Southern Illinois earlier this year, we decided to take a drive to the Cache River State Natural Area. On Google Maps, the location you are looking for is Todd Fink Heron Pond Trail =)
From the parking lot, a trail descends to a bridge that spans the Cache River. Just to the north, you can see the confluence of where Dutchman Creek meets the Cache River.
The trail weaves along the creek and through wetlands.
The trail then forks and to the right, after a short hike, is the Champion Cherrybark Oak Tree. The pictures do not do this tree justice! This tree is huge! The circumference of the tree is 25.5 feet!
The trail continues on to other areas within the Cache River State Natural Area like Little Black Slough, but we retraced out steps to visit Heron Pond.
I didn’t really think a “swamp” could be beautiful, but I was wrong! There was almost something magical about this place. The floating boardwalk allows you to be surrounded by the cypress trees.
The knees of the cypress trees were jutting up through the green, mossy water.
We did see a turtle and a snake and I could imagine that this place could get pretty buggy during the summer months.
Visitor tip! If you are looking for a local place to have breakfast before checking out Heron Pond, I recommend the Vienna Diner which is just about 15 minutes from the trail head!
Have you ever been to Heron Pond? What did you think?