Friday, November 5

Limekiln Trail

Continuing with our monthly series, "Adventures With Uncle Bob-Guide to Self-Adventure in Southern Illinois," we feature Limekiln Trail in Cypress Creek National Wildlife refuge. Directions: Take I-57 south from Marion, IL, to Ullin exit. Proceed east on Shawnee College Road. There are two trail heads. Turn right onto Cache Chapel Road for the west end; turn right onto Long Reach Road for the east end. The trail parking lots are clearly marked and both approx 4 miles from I-57 exit. The trail is approx 2.5 miles long. While in this area, there are other trails to the east: scroll down this blog to Cache River trails as well as our website for Heron Pond( I started at the east end.

For the first mile, we alternate prairie and floodplain forest. The refuge people indicate I am looking at giant and green Foxtail vegetation along the way. This wide grass trail is mowed well and small trees have been removed to make the trail. Tall grasses line the edges. Soon this becomes a rim trail overlooking the Cache River swamps. We arrive at a clearing point to view Tupelo and Cypress trees in the water. Note the thickets of Button bush across the river similar to Kudzu. Later, we arrive at another clear overlook with more extensive views of the same in the lake. Note the distant duck blind. Traveling on, there are private property signs - just don't venture off the trail. No fishing or hunting here. Continuing on, we cross two sets of 200-500 ft wood footbridges. Later, the trail becomes an old road thru the forest, and ends at the west trailhead parking. I clocked 1 hr and 20 minutes to complete the trail. Upon contacting their office (618-634-2231), it is suggested that April is optimal for a visit as spring flowers/vegetation proliferate. With heavy rains, a couple spots on the trail could be flooded. More info at the above number or Bob Tyson at 684-5643 or UTM coordinates are 315467 and 4128024.10/05/2011:other coordinates are 89 6' 39.83"W and 37 16' 43.09"N