The Marshall Ridge Access Area of the Cache River State Natural Area is located near Belknap at the end of Sunflower Lane. There are several choices for hiking once you arrive in the parking lot.
My favorite is the newly dedicated Michael Wolff Memorial Wetlands.
This wetlands has three ponds, the first of which is easily accessible from the parking area. Although there is no trail, it is also a fairly easy walk to the back ponds where an anhinga has been seen during the summer.
Another great choice is the Tupelo Trail, which starts about a quarter-mile north of the parking lot along the old forest road. This moderately difficult 2.5-mile trail goes through rolling upland forest to the southern shoreline of Little Black Slough. It gives excellent views of cypress, tupelo gum trees and swamp. Many blooming pawpaw trees and zebra swallowtail butterflies can be found there in April. Autumn brings colorful trees and late blooming wildflowers.
Continuing on the old forest road will eventually bring you to the north end of the Heron Pond area. Other trails breaking off from this forest road lead to Boss Island and to Wildcat Bluff. This entire area is part of the Cache River State Natural Area.
Birds commonly seen at these locations include all the local woodpeckers, many hawks, and several woodland birds. Because of the open areas, you will also see and hear dickcissel, indigo bunting, American goldfinch, eastern towhee, brown thrasher, and many others that thrive at the edge of a forest.