Camping Enjoyment

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Giant City State Park

Giant City Lodge from parking lot.Water tower next to Giant City LodgeThe Shawnee National Forest, composed of 289,000 acres located in southern Illinois between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, is home to the Giant City State Park located near Carbondale. The landscape is characterized by massive sandstone rock structures that can be viewed along hiking trails in the park.

This park offers interpretive displays on geology, animals, plants, ahd history of the park at the Giant City Visitor Center. For those who choose to dine at a restaurant sometimes while camping and/or hiking, this state park offers a dining experience at the Giant City Lodge. If camping is not in your plans to visit Giant City State Park, three types of cabins are also available at the lodge. Day use areas are also located within the park near hiking trails.

Hiking

The unusual landscape of this area can be explored while hiking on the several trails within the park: Post Oak, Devil’s Standtable, Giant City, Stone Fort, Indian Creek, Trillium and Arrow Wood. The Post Oak trail is rated for disabled visitors. The most challenging trail is the 12 mile Red Cedar Hiking Trail available to dedicated backpackers. Hikers are warned as they begin their hike to remain on the trails because these trails are near steep sandstone cliffs. In addition, there may be copperhead snakes hiding in the rocks.

Trails within Giant City State Park:

Arrow Wood Trail is a self-interpretive trail. (https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Documents/GiantCityArrowWoodTrail.pdf)

Devil’s Standtable Nature Trail is ⅓ mile in length with an average walking time of 30 minutes and a difficulty rating of “moderate”. (https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Documents/GiantCityDevilsStandtableTrail.pdf) Some images from Devil's Standtable are displayed below.

Devil's Stand Table Trail sign Devil's Stand Table Trail rock formation
Devil's Stand Table Trail rock formation
Devil's Stand Table Trail Rock Formation 2

Indian Creek Nature Trail is ¾ mile in length with an average walking time of 45 minutes and a difficulty rating of “moderate”. (https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Documents/GiantCityIndianCreekTrail.pdf)

The Giant City Nature Trail is 1 mile long with an average walking time of 1 hour and a difficulty rating of “moderate”. (https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Documents/GiantCityNatureTrail.pdf) Images taken while hiking The Giant City Nature Trail.

Giant City Trail sign Giant City Trail rock formation 2
Giant City Trail rock formation
Giant City Trail Rock Formation 3

The Post Oak Nature Trail is ⅓ mile in length with an average walking time of 30 minutes and a difficulty rating of “easy”. (https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Documents/GiantCityPostOakTrail.pdf)

The Red Cedar Hiking Trail provides a long distance, rugged hiking experience at 12 miles in length.(https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Documents/GiantCityRedCedarTrail.pdf)

Stone Fort Nature Trail is ⅓ mile in length with an average walking time of 30 minutes and a difficulty rating of “moderate”. (https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Documents/GiantCityStoneFortTrail.pdf)

Trillium Trail is 2 miles long with an average walking time of 1 hour and a difficulty rating of “rugged”. (https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Documents/GiantCityTrilliumTrail.pdf) Some cliffs along the Trillium Trail are pictured below.

Trillium Trail sign Trillium  Trail cliff and trees
Trillium Trail cliff face
Trillium Trail fractured rock face

Camping

The campground offers 85 Class A campsites that include access to water, electricity, showers and flush toilets, fire rings, and a dump station. Fourteen walk-in Class C campsites are located at the south end of the campground for tenting. These sites have access to a water, pit toilets, fire rings, and showers. The roads in the park were resurfaced in 2018, giving it the appearance of a new park. There are several pull-thru sites located in the loop for sites #34 through #47. There is a picnic shelter in another loop that seems to be intended for groups of campers.

Resources:

Contact us at HappyHikers@campingenjoyment.com.
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