With 56 percent of the Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge covered in stunning forest, 10 percent is beautiful cropland, and 20 percent covered by open water, and an amazing variety of wildlife calling it home, if you are looking to surround yourselves with some stunning natural beauty, look no further!
The Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge has a number of primary purposes, with two of these being wildlife conservation, and offering a safe and enjoyable recreational experience for all who visit - and both of those they do very well!
The wildlife found here is just stunning. If you're lucky you might see the elusive bobcat as you drive the tour route early in the morning. If you see an iconic bald eagle, you'll know that's a testament to the success of the Endangered Species Act as this beautiful creature is no longer on the list!
Wild Turkeys were hunted to near extinction by the early 20th century, but now conservation efforts have returned this beautiful bird to great numbers, and these are one of the most frequent animals to be seen in the area.
Within the stunning forest, you might find a deer, or squirrels, raccoons, and even owls, and in the open waters there are sport fish, waterfowl an other water birds.
Let's not forget about the croplands, with Canada geese and northern bobwhite!
With wildlife all year round at the Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge, a great place to start is the Visitor Center, where you can see exhibits of all the local wildlife, and pick up maps to the area.
There are great spots for hiking with the Rocky Bluff Trail the most popular hike, and plenty of fishing opportunities for crappie!
A day out in stunning Illinois nature!
$2 per vehicle for 1 day pass, $5 for a 7 days pass
Included in the vehicle fee
Always check the weather forecast before heading out on the lakes or off down a trail. Be sure to dress appropriately for the expected weather conditions. Also be prepared for insects in the spring and summer, especially ticks. Wearing protective clothing or repellants is recommended.
Be prepared when you go, it's always great to have a packed lunch and water with you!
Healthy Eating null
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southern portion of Illinois, with lands in Williamson, Jackson, and Union counties. The Refuge visitor center is located five miles west of Marion, Illinois, and five miles south of Herrin, Illinois, on State Route 148. To get to the Refuge visitor center from I-57, take exit 54 B onto IL-13W toward Carbondale for 3.6 miles until you reach the IL-148 intersection. At this intersection, turn left onto IL-148 and travel South 1.6 miles until you reach the Refuge visitor center. To get to the Refuge visitor center from I-24, merge onto I-57 N via exit 44B for 1.3 miles until you reach exit 45, IL-148. Take IL-148 North for 7.7 miles until you reach the Refuge.
Speak to staff at the visitor center about the accessibility of the exhibits and trails
Click here for lots more great things to do near you in Illinois
Visitor Center open 8am - 4:30pm daily
Open year round
Other great things to do with kids near to
Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge