Canoeing and Kayaking Southern Illinois Wetlands and Lakes
Southern Illinois boasts some of the nation’s most diverse landscapes. Join naturalists to canoe the clear lake waters and cypress swamp as you learn about wildlife and local culture.
Program No. 17381RJ
5 days
Starts at
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5 days
4 nights
11 meals
4 B 3 L 4 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Carbondale, IL
Giant City State Park Lodge & Cabins

Dinner: Family style dinner in Lodge Restaurant.

Evening: Introductions. Program overview. Short presentation on Southern Illinois natural divisions.

Canoeing the Cache River Swamp
Carbondale, IL
Giant City State Park Lodge & Cabins

Breakfast: Breakfast in Lodge Restaurant

Morning: Cache River Wetlands: Voices of the Cache Canoe Trail. Paddle through this swampland past duckweed, button brush, and 800-year old Cypress trees; one with over 200 knees. Prior to canoeing, staff will provide canoe instruction and safety, including paddle techniques, getting in and out of canoes safely and how to prevent a canoe from flipping over. Approx. distance is 2 miles on flat water (no rapids). A visit to the Interpretive Center will give background on the natural and cultural history of the wetlands. Eagles, herons, egrets, pileated woodpecker, wood ducks and owls are common ushers along the trail, along with the often sought after Prothonotary Warbler (spring/summer only). A visit with the 1500 year-old state record Bald Cypress tree is always a highlight of this wetland paddle.

Lunch: Picnic style lunch in the field

Afternoon: Cache River swamp and visitor center continued.

Dinner: Dinner in Lodge Restaurant

Evening: Evening Owl Prowl. Presentation on owl behavior and adaptations prior to short hike to call in local owl species.

Canoeing & Kayaking, Evening Entertainment
Carbondale, IL
Giant City State Park Lodge & Cabins

Breakfast: Breakfast in Lodge Restaurant.

Morning: Watch for Eagles, herons and kingfishers as we paddle along sandstone bluffs and beneath towering pines on one of southern Illinois' scenic lakes. Approx. distance 2-5 miles on flat water with short interpretive breaks along the way. Kayaks are also available to paddle on this day---learn kayak paddling techniques and have the option to switch from canoeing to kayaking throughout the day.

Lunch: Lunch along the shore of the lake.

Afternoon: More paddling, exploring, and one-on-one instruction.

Dinner: Dinner in Lodge Restaurant

Evening: Evening music with a focus on bluegrass and folk music inspired by the natural world and intertwined with stories of life and adventure.

Wilderness hike
Carbondale, IL
Giant City State Park Lodge & Cabins

Breakfast: Breakfast in Lodge restaurant.

Morning: Naturalist Hike in one of the 8 wilderness areas of Southern Illinois. Creek crossings, dirt/chipped trails, and mixed hardwood forests lead us to a maze of 300 million year old sandstone bluffs. Botany, birds, and geology are highlighted on this naturalist hike.

Lunch: TBA

Afternoon: Options: Visit to local winery for wine tasting; or more paddling on the lake.

Dinner: In the Lodge or local restaurant.

Evening: Evening presentation

Pontoon Ride on Lake, Program Concludes
Carbondale, IL

Breakfast: In the Lodge

Morning: Pontoon ride on Little Grassy Lake. Program ends by 10:30 am.

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