Red Cedar Trail is a 13.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Makanda, Illinois that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions From the north: Take Interstate 57 South to the Route 13 exit (Carbondale - Exit #54B), head west (right) on Rt. 13 toward Carbondale, go approximately 15 miles. Look for Wal-Mart on your right. Turn left at this light (Giant City Road). Continue 12 miles to the south. Giant City Road will lead you into the park. From the south: Follow I-24 to I-57 North, or stay on I-57, to the Rt. 148 exit (Exit #45), head northwest on 148 for approximately 2 miles. Turn left on Grassy Road. There is a convenience store on this corner. Follow Grassy Road for 5-7 miles. Stay left when you come to a Y. Continue southwest on Grassy Road. Grassy Road will come to a T at Giant City Road. Turn south (left) on Giant City Road. Continue approximately 4 miles to the park. From the east: Head west on I-70 or, if you are further south, take I-64 to I-57 South. Continue approximately 50 miles south from I-64 to the Route 13 exit (Marion - Exit #54B), head west on Rt. 13 toward Carbondale, go approximately 15 miles. Look for Wal-Mart on your right. Turn left at this light (Giant City Road). Continue 12 miles to the south. Giant City Road will lead you into the park. From the west: Head east on I-64 approximately 50 miles from St. Louis. Take the Rt. 127 (Nashville) exit south. Continue south for approximately 50 miles to Murphysboro. At Murphysboro, go left or east for approximately 10 miles. You will pass through the town of Carbondale. Watch for the mall on your right. When you see Wal-Mart on your left, this is your light. Take a right here on Giant City Road heading south for 12 miles into the park.
Beautiful, but we got lost a million times. Not a super "easy" trail. We went in the dead of summer (training for fall trail race) so of course things were very overgrown, and it was in the 90's :) Be prepared with water, food, and a cell phone! Check for ticks.
Absolutely loved this place! By far the coolest place I've been in the bi state area, hands down. This park offers a variety of trails, all with an excellent payoff. I will certainly be making a return visit with the family.
I really like this trail! I never realized how pretty this part of Illinois. The leaves were starting to change which made for some great views and it has some technical sections which are a lot of fun.
Most of the trails 'sort of' interconnect via off trail path's. Keep your eye's out. So much exploring to do !!!!
Hiked the Red Cedar Trail today. (7/23/16) It was well marked. I only got turned around a couple of times and it was quickly corrected. The campground is hard to find. You must walk up an electric power pole right of way, in order to find it. Take lots of water. The description says easy. It's not easy. Yes, parts of it are on roads or gravel paths, but other parts are up and down hills. It balances out. I hiked the trail in 5.5 hours. It would be a nice trail to camp on, then finish the next day.
I agree western side not as well marked or maintained. Great day hike
I love it! Spending the weekend with family! It's beautiful!
It's a short trail and not bad in elevation changes. But the scenery is great and we'll worth it since the trail is right off the highway.
Did the Red Cedar trail this winter. It's short on the wow factor that you see in the shorter trails and the river to river in the park, but it's a good walk in the woods. The western side is not as well marked as the rest of the trail and hasn't quite recovered from the blow down a few years back. Plenty of spots to filter water.
14 mile loop, plan ahead to either pack extra water or purify your own. The far North end leg is cool, except overgrown and tick filled. we did the loop in 1 day but I would recommend making it an overnight trip, camp at one of the campgrounds half way down the trail.
I did the giant city nature trail, the devil's sand table trail, and the stone wall trail. The giant city nature trail is the one you shouldn't miss.
This was my first backpacking experience, so I was glad to make it to the campsite at the back of the trail. the northern portion of the trail is pretty rugged- lots of hills, lots of bluffs, and lots of brush. Definitely beautiful the whole way. The trail was a bit washed out in a few places, and markers were occasionally hard to spot, but having the map from the visitor's center was really helpful. The campsite is called primitive, but there's three fire rings, a few picnic tables, and a couple outhouses. The southern part of the trail was pretty flat and easy going, and merged with the horse trail for a mile or so. The trail markers were pretty hard to spot and understand after the giant city road crossing, but again, referencing the map helps a lot. All in all, the trail was fun and in good shape. I'd recommend it to a first time backpacker, but not to the average day hiker.