We visited Heron Pond Nature Preserve in Illinois on May 28, 2018. We wanted to visit more of the Cache River Wetlands, but due to time were only able to make it to the Section Eight Woods which is included in the video slideshow. The trail down a gravel road deep into the woods that seems impassable by two cars and we wondered what we would do if another vehicle came along. There were ditches on either side of the one lane road for much of the road. The sign indicates that it is .5 mile to the pond and .75 mile to the champion Cherrybark Tree. In total it is a 1.5 loop; that being ......watch for more information.
Heron Pond is near Belknap, Illinois and part of the Cache River State Natural Area. Note that the name of the trail is the Todd Fink Heron Pond Trail. You can get to the boardwalk, the Champion Cherrybark Oak tree, and the Little Black Slough all from this trailhead. This hike is a 1.5 mile loop. Here are a few of the photos also in the video above.
This is a bridge that you come to first.
It is a confluence.
Dutchman Creek is on the right and it flows into the Cashe River on the left.
It is not very pretty. It is muddy icky.
The trail is fairly easy.
You see the swamp every now and then.
This is the fork in the road. To the left is Heron Pond. If you go straight for a short distance you will get to visit the Champion Cherrybark Oak. Then you can come straight back to this fork in the road to go to the Heron Pond boardwalk and finish the loop.
Everyone must become a tree hugger at least once in their life.
I made this panormic photo using 5 photos. That is how tall and big this tree. I had to do that in order to get the whole tree in.
After you go back to the fork and go the other direction, you will arive at this which begins the boardwalk.
It is a magical spot on earth.
There are cottonmouth snake everywhere. You just have to look for them.
The swamp is so creepy to me!
Section Eight is a totally different location that Heron Pond. It is just a parking lot along side the Highway and looks insignificant.
From Vienna take Route 146 to Route 37. Turn south on Route 37 and continue approximately 9 miles to the Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center, 8885 IL-37, Illiniois. Continue on Route 37 for .6 of a mile to Section 8 Woods. Search for "Section Eight Woods Nature Preserve" on your GPS.
It is a swamp boardwalk similar to Heron Pond, but with a different feel to it.