Explore garden of the gods - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

garden of the gods Map

We did this hike yesterday, starting at Rim Rock (we took the path to the far right (of the four options) and making our way to Pounds Hollow. We actually spent a little time at Pounds Hollow to take a break (up the bluff), then hiked back, where there is a small sign at the point of the three large bluff/ rock formation areas. We headed the opposite direction that we came from to ox-lot cave and wandered/ climbed around until we found a stone staircase. That led between the rock formations and toward a recently created or remodeled wooden staircase that takes you to the top of Ox-lot. We then took the upper trail back to the parking area. During our hike, we ended up with a distance of 4 miles and climbed the equivalent of 37 flights. It was an excellent time. Calling it a moderate hike/ trail is mostly accurate. I would say easy to moderate. I did take the time to climb up a few of the formations and experience different views. I would recommend it just to really take everything in. Recent rains meant the water was flowing nicely and there were very few people there, so you really got to hear the amazing, peaceful, serene sounds of nature!

SNF has done a wonderful job keeping this area up. The addition of walkways, benches, and bridges simplify the trail, but do not take away from the environment. Most is likely done as a protective feature for the natural areas and the hikers. This is a family friendly place. There were only 5 other families/ couples there when we left, only two others when we arrived.

Really lovely trail all along the way. Easy to follow except at the stream crossings. There are no bridges so if the water is up like it was for us you will need to wade. I built a rocky causeway to pass the first crossing upstream but the downstream crossing was much too deep and we had to get our feet wet. The spring is not visible from the trail and appears on the map to source several miles away which may be visible from another road which passes through that way(just by visual inspection on a map). The trail was easy to follow in most places though some spots we lost it due to sharp turns and lack of arrows indicating the proper path which caused us to do some unnecessary ledge crawling. The sentry bluff trail(Blue diamonds) travels along with part of the Natural bridge trail(Yellow Diamonds) close to the parking area where the natural bridge can be seen across the creek. However unless coming in a dry/low water season you will be getting your feet wet to see the natural bridge or to hike any trails on the other side of the stream. Both the entire length of the sentry trail we took and the finale of the natural bridge at the end were stunningly beautiful. A spraying water fall into the keyhole of the natural bridge gave rise to a small rainbow next to a a large snaking tree which climbed the height of the bridge into the canopy above.
Definitely well worth the visit. Better trail marking in places and bridges for stream crossings would make my 5 star review.

5 days ago

Really pretty area. This was hidden gem you would never find without online mapping. There are no trail markers, Park signs, or any information available at the site, but google maps takes you right to it. The road to get there is poorly maintained which can do damage to commuter cars if the driver is not careful. Falls are at the head of the trail with approximately 3/4 mile loop which leads down around the bluffs over bedrock trails to the base of the falls and cataracts. The trail is poorly demarcated in most places and is a struggle to find the correct path but it is not easy to get lost due to the trail following the canyon. Finding the loop was tricky, as it is a much more advanced climb than the trail leading down to the falls which involves scrambling over rocks and a ledge crawl over the top of the falls. Though it was passable with me and my 60 year-old-mother. We went on March 14th which fed the falls with snow melt providing beautiful views and a nice brisk hike. Though we were both a little winded after climbing up the backside of the falls, I'd definitely recommend this hike. Expect to spend 30 minutes to an hour depending on your speed and agility.

This Trail Is small VERY SMALL! but worth the stop it is listed in the Smothsonia as the top 50 in the USA! On Smithsonia.Com and top for Illinois very Beautiful place. if you trail it it dont take long but in my case it lasted for almost 9 hours .Put me in a Wilderness and I'll stay as long as possible and cry when I have to leave. There are a few folks walking around but I seem to be able to figure out where to go to get away from them plus I went in the middle of the week so that helps. beautiful place I was there in Oct 2017 for the fall colors PERFECT!!!!!!!!

on Burden Falls

14 days ago

Beautiful, excellent views, wish trail was better marked. going down wasn't to bad but unable to find trail out and had to back track up a very steep hill.

Time it to catch the sunset over looking the Mississippi River

Beautiful. Be careful in winter. I slipped on the rocks a few times.

Amazing rock formations


2 months ago

Jackson Falls is better in my opinion. Burden is really easy to get to, with parking literally 10 feet away.

Great trail and dog friendly!

Properly named trail as it was an amazing view at the top. Being able to see the swamp below and watch the train go by in the far distance and knowing how far that span was gives you perspective. I drove 5.5 hrs from Davenport Iowa to do this hike and photo snake road. Can’t imagine being on snake road during the peak of the migration.

Kids all loved it, especially all the nooks and crannies of the rocks.

Hidden gem in Illinois. Well worth the time to explore this and other hikes at Garden of the Gods.

Most areas are easily accessible to all. This short trail rewards with amazing views that are some of the best in the midwest.

4 months ago

Great view

4 months ago

Enjoyed this trail and as others have said we too ended up in Pounds Hollow! There’s an open area where the very small sign is and we missed it. Not a big deal, we just walked back the same way. But it is an extra half mile each way to pounds hollow. The trail itself is pretty easy with some fairly good elevation changes.

4 months ago

Nice easy trail with some great overlooks and neat rock formations. Saw people camping but we just did a day hike and combined it with Garden of the Gods and Rim Rock. All nice trails within 10 miles of each other

4 months ago

Just did this trail and loved it! It’s not difficult from an elevation perspective but there are a few tricky spots to maneuver. This is different in that there aren’t any “overlook” areas like Garden of the Gods, but there are many beautiful rock formations along the way. Trail is really well marked.....just follow the blue markers.

I hiked this trail today. I did end up at Pounds Hollow, but I saw the sign and kept going. There is a sign. It's short, but it's there. I didn't take the street back. I simply went back the way I came, turned at the little sign and finished the trail back to my car. Really nice area.

Great views. Easy hike. Family friendly day event.

I have hiked this trail twice and both times I ended up on Pounds Hollow Lake Road and had to hike the highway back to Rim Rock. There are no signs telling you which way to go on the trail. If you get to the beach area, you've gone too far. I love the trail, though. Very beautiful and peaceful. But now that I've found this website and have a map, I know where to go and am going to go back and walk the trail the right way!

5 months ago

The trail is difficult in some spots but for the most part it is easy walking..A few great rock formations and a natural bridge are among the highlights..Trail is marked well until it comes to a sudden. turn ..we got turned around a couple times but no big deal. Definitely worth your time to hike.

5 months ago

Nice town folks, camping and hiking. Enjoying the river and the tall cottonwood trees at the ferry campground.

Wow the name says it all!

Nice trail!

6 months ago

Great trail for all ages..... absolutely beautiful veiws!!!

We were camping at nearby Pounds Hollow, which is a great rustic campground. We did this hike on a Sunday morning with some relatives that are pretty inexperienced. Everyone loved it. Make sure you take the steps down off the bluff that lead to Ox-Lot cave. Pretty amazing rock formations, especially for Illinois. In my opinion, this is more impressive than Giant City State Park. We could have spent a little more time exploring, but it only took a hour and a half to complete. If you are in the area it is well worth doing.

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