Snake Road to draw a crowd as scaled serpents migrate for fall

The Shawnee National Forest is home to critters of all sorts

The seasons are ch-ch-changing. That means the snakes in southern Illinois will begin slithering into hibernation!

snake roadFor about two months, reptiles and amphibians in the Shawnee National Forest will migrate from LaRue Swamp across what's known as Snake Road, to the nearby limestone bluffs.

The forest service closes a portion of Snake Road each fall to make sure these critters, some of which are considered threatened and endangered, can safely cross.

Starting September 1, the road will close to vehicle traffic between milepost 3.0 and milepost 5.8. It'll stay closed through October 30.

Of course, foot traffic is still welcome! Snakes, frogs, salamanders, and turtles will move freely around the LaRue-Pine Hills, and this is a great chance to see them.

Take a Heartland Weekend trip to Snake Road on Thursday, Oct. 6. That's when Heritage Biologist Scott Ballard will lead a guided hike along Snake Road. Learn about the variety of reptiles and amphibians that are found in this ecologically rich area. Long pants, hiking shoes and water are recommended. The tour will meet a the Winters Pond starting at noon.

CAUTION:  Unauthorized collecting and handling of any of these species is prohibited under federal and state law.

To reach Snake Road from Jonesboro: Take Highway 146 west 8 miles to Highway 3; then north 8 miles on Highway 3 to Muddy Levee Road. Then east 3 miles to LaRue Rd., at the ‘T’ turn right into Winters Pond parking lot.  They can also reach this from the south entrance off of LaRue Rd (some people like to walk from here north and turn around part way)

To reach Snake Road from Murphysboro: Take Highway 149 west 7 miles to Highway 3; then south 14 miles on Highway 3 to Muddy Levee Road. Then east 3 miles to LaRue Rd., at the ‘T’ turn right into Winters Pond parking lot.

Timber Rattler

Timber Rattler

Nora Davis, a wildlife photographer who calls Hayti, Missouri home, enjoys capturing snakes on camera. She photographed this Timber Rattler as it embarked on its great migration.

Copperhead

Copperhead

A Copperhead is on the move along Snake Road.

(Source: Nora Davis/Nora Duffy Photography)

Cottonmouth

Cottonmouth

A Cottonmouth shows off its fangs as it makes its trek across Snake Road.

(Source: Nora Davis/Nora Duffy Photography)

Rattler

Rattler

A Timber Rattler is making the great migration in Union County.

(Source: Nora Davis/Nora Duffy Photography)

CLICK HERE to learn more about the 35 snake species native to Illinois that call this natural area home.