When you live in the Midwest, sometimes your access to a National Park is limited without driving 10 hours. However, one of the gems that barely get’s regongition in the National Park System, is the diverse ecological system in Southern Illinois. One of the gems I missed, was the Cache River Wetlands area with 1000 year old Cypress trees. I never knew Southern Illinois had a Wetlands area, not alone a Kayak trail that you could trek. The Cache River was a spectacular trip and offered many diverse and flora. The cypress were absolutely cool, and kind a spooky at the same time. I went early in the morning (sunrise) and felt like I was on a Si-Fi set. Very cool to see the water totally topped with alge.


So, with some planning and a quick escape, I drove 5 hours South to Cypress, IL and put my Kayak in the Cache River. Along with my Kayak trip, I brought my backpack to do a section of the River to River trail the runs across the entire southern part of the State (186 miles) through the Shawnee National Forest.

It was hot, muggy, but a great weekend. Hope you enjoy the video.


Enjoy the outdoors and love getting out into the backcountry.

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  • […] Illinois: My first pick would be the River to River Trail in the Shawnee Nation Forest. This trail runs 176 miles across the entire State from the Mississippi River to the Ohio River. Southern Illinois has some spectacular rock formations, and landscapes. The Shawnee Natl Forest is a great trip for Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee Residents. Within 5-8 hour drive. The trail is rated Moderate. (Panther Den Wilderness is my favorite place to camp) A weekend in the Shawnee National Forest Video […]