Cypress Creek Unit
• This unit forms the northernmost boundary of the Cypress
Creek NWR and includes some of the higher elevations (500 feet msl) on the
Refuge as well as approximately 1100 acres of low, poorly drained bottomland.
• The area is drained
by Cypress Creek which flows into the Cache River south of the Perks Road. The acquisition boundary of this unit covers
6,000 acres, and Cypress Creek has purchased 3,400 acres to date.
• Of the purchased acreage 1,611 acres have been restored to
forest and wetland. Restored areas
include Cypress Pond and Hickory Bottoms.
• Cypress Pond, located off of Cypress Road, features a short
forested trail that leads to the Cypress pond fishing platform.
• Platform may be used to fish or observe wildlife such as
turkey, deer and a wide variety of birds.
• Hickory Bottoms
• Hickory bottoms, located off Mount Olive Road, offers a 200
acer tract of contiguous forest and a 1.5 acre trail.
• This area has gained national recognition for its songbird
population, and is a popular hunting and wildlife observation spot.
Limekiln Slough Unit
• This unit includes approximately 6,600 acres. The area includes 4,500 acres of agriculture
and is bounded on the east, south, and west by low hills.
• The area is drained
by Limekiln Slough which empties into the Cache River. The central portion of
the unit historically was a large floodplain forest dominated by oaks and
hickories until it was cleared in the 1970’s.
• To date the Refuge owns 1,500 acres of which 850 acres have
been restored to forest and wetlands.
• Limekiln Slough Unit contains the scenic Limekiln Trail
which includes 2 boardwalks that wind through the swamp. Included in the Limekiln Slough Unit is East
Access to Limekiln Trail and the Brushy Unit.
• Limekiln Springs Trail-East Access
• Access to the east side of Limekiln Springs Trail is located
off of Long Reach Road, the trail ends on the west end at Cache Chapel
Road. The trail does not loop.
• The trail is rated at moderate difficulty and includes
limestone outcrops, floodplain forest, multiple springs and 2 boardwalks.
• This location provides quality habitat to a plethora of
plant and animal species.
Cache River Unit
• This unit’s acquisition boundary covers 5,276 acres, 1,136
of these acres have been purchase by Cypress Creek Refuge. Of the purchased land 750 has been restored
to forest and wetland habitat.
• Within the Cache River Unit is Buttonland Swamp which is
owned jointly by Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Refuge. In addition, Cypress Creek’s acquisition
territory forms a buffer around this section of river which widens with the
gradual fall of 6-12 inches per mile.
• Historically, this section of the river featured wide
expanse of open water with depths of more than 10 feet. Within the last century
land clearing and channelizations to increase drainage has resulted in
excessive silt and sediment deposition eliminating this deep water. In 2002,
approximately 1 mile of river within this unit was dredged to remove sediment
and initiate deep-water habitat restoration.
• Today this portion of the river contains areas dominated by
old-growth bald cypress and water tupelo trees, as well as button bush, making
it a popular destination for canoeing, kayaking and nature photography.
• This unit contains Lower Cache Access, Buttonland Swamp
Access and Eagle Pond, as well as Limekiln Trail West Access.
Buttonland Swamp/Eagle Pond
• Canoe trails wind and loop through this area, granting
boaters access to views of ancient bald cypress, such as the 109 knee cypress
tree in Eagle Pond, and in the main channel of the Cache River.
• Eagle Pond is an area of open water within Buttonland
Swamp. Rimmed with stands of tupelo
trees, eagle pond is a great spot for birders, boaters, and nature
Limekiln Springs Trail West Access
• West access to the Limekiln Springs Trail is located off of
Cache Chapel Road (for east access see above).
• This 2.5 mile the trail ends on the east end at Long Reach
Road. The trail is rated at moderate
difficulty and does not loop.
• Some of the trail features include limestone outcrops,
floodplain forest, multiple springs and 2 boardwalks.
• Springs in this location maintain water in the swamp, which
provides habitat to a multitude of fish, amphibians and reptiles, along with
birds and other species.
Butter Ridge Unit
• This area contains 5,936 acres of which 60% are in
agricultural production. Currently CCNWR owns 2,281 which include the 1,000
acre Frank Bellrose Waterfowl Reserve.
This 1000 acre area is closed to the public and includes 400 acres of
moist soil wetlands, which are intensively managed as a sanctuary for migrating
• Both Big Creek and Little Creek enter the Cache through the
Butter Ridge Unit. Big Creek has a relatively steep hydrologic gradient and
drains a basin that covers 52 square miles.
The channelized lower reach of this tributary bisects the Bellrose
Reserve and enters the Cache River.
• The viewing platform is located off of Cache Chapel Road and
provides an area to observe wildlife year-round. Wildlife in this area includes such species
as deer, beaver, mink, kingfisher and other birds.
Indian Camp Creek Unit
• This unit is low, flat and primarily river floodplain, it
includes approximately 3,000 acres with 1,208 acres in agriculture (primarily
• Extensive channelization between the towns of Ullin and
Tamm’s cut-off many of the historic river meanders from the main river channel.
To date the Refuge owns approximately 1,000 acres which includes floodplain
forest and wetlands.
Sandy Creek and Lake Creek Units
• These units include 7,432 acres and form a relatively narrow
corridor along the Cache River from the town of Tamms to the Mississippi
• Cypress Creek
National Wildlife Refuge owns approximately 5,700 acres with 300 acres in
agriculture. The remaining acreage has been restored to floodplain forest and
• Cache River Bend Access provides the only access to the main
channel of the Cache river for boats (10mph limit).
Cache Bend Access
• Boat access is located on Morris Road, east of Sandusky,
IL. Low water levels in summer may make
boat access difficult.
Old Cache Channel Unit
• This unit has an acquisition boundary of 2,537 acres, with
1,038 in Refuge ownership. The majority
of this unit contains low, poorly drained bottomlands. The Old Cache River Channel forms the south
boundary of this unit.
• In 1950 a ditch was cut on the west end of the channel
diverting water from Cache River directly into the Mississippi thus abandoning
approximately 6 miles of river channel that empties into the Ohio River. Prior
to Refuge ownership, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has maintained
a floodgate into the Ohio River (on the east end of the old channel).
• The USACE with the cooperation of the Cairo Drainage
District, are currently responsible for manipulating water levels in the
channel to maintain drainage and flood control. When the gates are open and the
Ohio River is down, water levels may drop to 2 inches or less.
• This unit contains the Old Cache Channel Access and Cache
Old Cache Channel Access
• Located off of Route 51 and Redmond Road, this is a popular
place for fishing and wildlife observation.
This location provides boat access to 3 miles of river channel. Bald cypress, river birch and other
floodplain species border the river.
Cache Levee Access
• Cache Levee Access is located off of Route 3, south of Rout
127 and also provides access to the Old Cache Channel. A silt bar to the east helps to maintain
• This location is generally used for canoeing, fishing,
hunting and wildlife observation.
For more information on the management units, please contact Cypress Creek Refuge at 618-634-2231. For an overview of features and access points visit our maps page.