Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge


(618) 634-2231

Map Directions

Things To Do


The Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge is located in southernmost Illinois within the Cache River Watershed. The refuge was established in 1990 under the Emergency Wetlands Resource Act of 1986 to protect, restore, and manage wetlands and bottomland forests that provide habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds, resident wildlife, and endangered and threatened species. Currently, the refuge protects 15,000 acres, with the vision of a 35,000-acre contiguous tract of land connected by remnants of cypress-tupelo swamps, oak barrens, and vast stands of bottomland forests. The refuge and surrounding Cache River Wetlands are considered Illinois' Bayou - a large swamp/wetland complex in the Midwest which harbors a rich collection of biologically significant natural communities. The Cache River and Cypress Creek Wetland was designated a "Wetland of International Importance" (Ramsar site) for its rich diversity of plant and animal communities; it claims some of the oldest living trees east of the Mississippi River and harbors 91% of Illinois' high-quality swamp habitat. The refuge lies at a biological midpoint of North America - one of only six areas in the U.S. where four or more physiographic regions overlap. As a result, the refuge is bounded on the west by the Ozark Hills, on the north by the Central Plateau, on the east by the Interior Low Plateau, and on the south by the Gulf Coastal Plain. This mixture of bedrock, soils, and climate provides a diversity of habitats seldom matched in the Midwest. The refuge is a member of a unique partnership to restore and manage the Cache River Wetlands. Together, the refuge, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), The Nature Conservancy, and Ducks Unlimited share a common goal to protect and restore 60,000 acres along a 50-mile corridor of the Cache River. Wildlife observation, hiking, canoe trails, and hunting and fishing are just a few of the activities offered at this new refuge.

Map of Cypress Creek NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 37.229372, -89.150105



  • Boating

    Boating is permitted on rivers and ponds owned by the refuge, however, the Cache River and associated tributaries are not designated as "public water bodies." This means that boaters are welcome where the refuge or the Illinois Department of Natural Resources own one or both banks of a river; otherwise use of the river requires permission from the adjoining landowner. All boats have a 10-horsepower restriction and boats may not be left overnight on the refuge.

  • Bird Watching

    The refuge is home to almost 230 species of migratory waterfowl, wading birds and song birds during migration periods.

  • Fishing

    Sportfishing, frogging and taking of turtles for personal use are permitted in all refuge waters in accordance with state regulations. Refuge waters include ponds and portions of the Cache River and its tributaries that are within refuge boundaries. The use of trotlines, jugs, yo-yo's, nets or any other commercial fishing equipment is prohibited, except that commercial fishing is allowed by legally licensed and equipped fisherman in the Cache River downstream of HWY 51. Anglers may take fish with no more than 2 poles with no more than 2 hooks or lures per line. All bass taken from refuge ponds must be at least 15 inches in length. Refuge ponds have a daily limit of six channel catfish per angler.

  • Hiking

    Over 20 miles of hiking trails offer the best way to experience the rich diversity of the Cache River Wetlands.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is in accordance with state regulations subject to the following refuge specific regulations: Specific Hunting Regulations State season and bag limits apply unless otherwise specified. Hunting is permitted only in designated areas shown on the map. Hunters born on or after January 1, 1980, must show proof that they have successfully completed a Hunter Education Course. Hunters under 16 years of age must possess proof of completion of an approved Hunter Education Course and be accompanied (in sight and in normal voice contact) at all time by an adult 21 or older. Each adult must have a Refuge General Hunt Permit and can supervise only one youth during deer hunts and not more than two youths during all other hunts. All deer and turkey must be tagged as prescribed by state regulations and checked through authorized state harvest reporting procedures. Only portable deer stands or blinds may be used. All tree stands, blinds and personal property must be removed from the refuge by the end of each day's hunt. As required by state law, all persons hunting deer or upland game during gun deer season must wear a solid blaze orange cap or hat and an upper outer garment displaying at least 400 square inches of solid blaze orange material. Upland game hunters must wear a solid blaze orange cap while afield during all other seasons. Pits/permanent blinds are not permitted on the refuge. Only portable blinds or structures constructed of artificial camouflage are permitted for waterfowl hunting. All blinds must be removed or dismantled at the end of each day's hunt. Cutting of any vegetation on the refuge is prohibited. Hunting with recognized pointer/ retriever dogs during migratory bird seasons, recognized rabbit and squirrel dogs during the rabbit and squirrel season, and trailing hounds during designated racoon/ opossum season is permissible. Deer hunting with dogs on the refuge is prohibited. Dog training outside of state upland game and waterfowl seasons is prohibited.

Park Partners

Friends of the Cache Watershed



Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southernmost portion of Illinois, with lands located in Union, Pulaski, Alexander, and Johnson counties. Take Interstate 57, and exit at #18, Shawnee College Road. Travel approximately 7.1 miles east to the refuge office located on the Shawnee College Rustic Campus, Building D. The refuge is approximately 22 miles north of Cairo, Illinois, and 35 miles south of Carbondale, Illinois.

Phone Numbers


(618) 634-2231