Cretaceous Hills

Nature Preserve Area: 
Location and Access: 
From I-24 Exit 37 (near Metropolis), go east 3.5 miles on Hwy. 45, then turn and go north 2 miles, then turn and go east 2 miles, then turn and go north 0.25 mile, then turn and go east 1 mile, then turn and go north 1.5 miles. The nature preserve is 0.8 mile to the east (1 mile by trail). Most visitors will have to approach the preserve on foot.

Cretaceous Hills is characterized by steep to rolling hills of coastal plains gravel. It is representative of the eastern Cretaceous Hills Section of the Coastal Plain Natural Division. Mostly wooded, the preserve supports slope forest, dry ridge forest and ravine forest communities; however, several seep springs also exist creating wet, acidic, "boggy" areas. The upland areas support white oak and hickories, while tulip tree and red oak occur in the ravines. Unusual plants associated with the spring areas are cinnamon fern, marsh fern, royal fern and sphagnum moss. Cretaceous Hills is also a significant historic site; the presence of several cultures from the Archaic period are evident by an abundance of artifacts. The area is also the site of one of the first white settlements in southeastern Illinois. Management to preserve this unique natural area includes prescribed burning and brush removal.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources
October 1970
237.64 acres
Topographic Quad: 
Paducah Northeast
Topo Map: 
For further information: 
Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Biologist, Ferne Clyffe State Park, P.O. Box 67, Goreville, IL 62939 (618/995-2568)