hiking

nature trips

walking

With its breathtaking natural beauty and unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation, a trip to Giant City State Park near Carbondale is sure to delight visitors of all ages. From camping and horseback riding to fishing and rappelling, its an outdoor lovers paradise. Visitors will marvel at the many wilderness trails, and a sure treat awaits anyone hiking the Giant City Nature Trail, home of the Giant City Streets formed 12,000 years ago by huge bluffs of sandstone. Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest, just minutes south of Carbondale, the area was named for the unique impressions made by its massive sandstone structures. Eons of geological faulting and folding have molded a landscape like none other, which is now clothed in lush garments of fern, moss, large flowering mints, hundreds of species of wild flowers and 75-plus varieties of towering trees. The natural splendor of Giant City has made it a renowned retreat that attracts more than 1.2 million visitors annually.

Hiking 10/19/18 - Beautiful area! The trail was marked great in most places but missing several important places so that we were wandering around looking for a direction- losing time and adding 3 miles to the hike. Finished in 9 hours with moderate speed, stopped once for lunch for around 45 minutes. The alltrails app was a life saver! No ticks, very few bugs/spiders as mentioned in other posts.

Trails are horribly marked.. we spent hours going in circles trying to figure out which way to go..

hiking
21 days ago

A nice, short trail, mainly for sight-seeing. Gorgeous rock formations. Great for kids!

backpacking
22 days ago

one of the most horribly blazed trail I have ever been on, blazing is good through the first half right up to about 300yds from the road then you have to walk out of the woods and find the horse R2R trail to take you back up, no blazes, then at the top of the BIG hill where the trail splits, do not follow the the red/white trail blaze it will walk you 3/4 of a mile out of your way to a horse trail, instead stay on the R2R trail at the split and you should be fine. I ended up walking 9 miles to a 6 mile campsite. I was there 9/29 and little water on late trail get your water early.

A nice walk through the woods. I was caught off guard by an incoming cold front and the temp dropped nearly 20 degrees when I was halfway in. I had decided to shed some weight before heading out and not pack my down. That was a huge mistake that I won't make again.

It’s really fun, they’re all pretty easy around giant city, except for fat man squeeze. If you stop at the lodge they’re tell you where it’s at. I think they might be a picture of it up there, but there is a big crack in a rock wall you can try to squeeze through and it’s an entertaining thing to watch or try!

This is a cool rock, but it’s hard to see and the trail is a bit unclear. I did like the large cavelike overhang. Better rock fun at Giant City Nature Trail though.

Nice trail to walk with friends. Lots of rocks to climb and some trails that split off the main path that are a little more challenging but scenic.

on Stone Fort Trail

1 month ago

very short. poorly marked.

hiking
1 month ago

A good one to do in Giant City.

hiking
1 month ago

When we did this, it was tough to stay on trail in spots. If we do it again, it will be in late fall or winter. I was picking ticks off constantly.

nice rock formations, good for kids and kids at heart

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is terrible. It isn’t maintained at all. There are spider webs you walk into every couple of feet. No water stops along the way. Poison ivy all over. I’d hop over the state line and hike in Missouri.

Hiked here for the first time today. It's a pretty neat little trail, I had fun climbing on some of the rocks

hiking
2 months ago

Short, rugged, and very scenic trail that climbs alongside a wet-weather waterfall and skirts (sometimes almost perilously so) the tops of some tall cliffs. A great short hike to tackle after work or school.

hiking
3 months ago

This trail would’ve been fantastic if there wasn’t a spider web every 5 feet we had to go through!!

hiking
3 months ago

A gorgeous short loop that offers a decent challenge and some great views of the sandstone formations.

hiking
3 months ago

I have hiked this trail multiple times. I have also ran the trail. It is a really good work out and beautiful area.

Short but fun.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Good trail. Good for kids. Best features are on backside of loop. Spend some time and read the names carved into the stone. There is a sign at trailhead warning of falling sandstone. Made us a little weary to explore many of the breakout trails. Overall, very pleased. Note: it was extremely humid at the Park on the day we were there (June 14, 2018). Not sure if this was a unique day, but wow, it was thick. We’re from southwest NC and are very familiar with humidity. This isn’t a knock on the trail or the park, but more of a geographical enlightenment from someone new to the southern Illinois area.

This was a very beautiful hike, although one that has some issues. I believe it's closer to the 12 miles that the entrance signs say versus the 10.7.

We took two dogs with us, and if you are going to do this make sure they have plenty of tick repellant. Ticks are very bad this year and we picked at least 150 off of each dog, and that's not an exaggeration. Make sure you have your own repellant too, as we found a ton on ourselves.

The terrain on this trail is back and forth. A lot of gravel, mud, rock, and road. Make sure you have very good hiking shoes. Your feet will thank you for it. It is also a lot of unnecessary up hill and woodsy treks ...this will probably make you angry as it did us because the trail would take you through the woods for a second just to put you in the same field later on. Be prepared to question a lot. I would not recommend going a day after it rains (which is what we did), give the trail time to harden back up, otherwise expect a ton of mud.

The trail has very good markers in some places and very poor marking in others. I think we back tracked at least 5 times because we lost track of the markers. Pulled up the map a few times as well. Just don't lose sight of them... They are also down in a few places where trees have fell.

If you like trails that have a lot of creek bed action, this is one for you. It is very beautiful. I think all in all it took us about 7 hours with two dogs and multiple stops of about 10-20 minutes each. A lot of nice little areas to stop off and eat your packed lunch as well. Pack extra water, you are gonna need it.

It's definitely not 1.7 miles, less than 1 mile - for sure. And HOLY COW is it busy. Highly trafficked and very noisy as a result. The actual trail is nice, beautiful rock formations; but the crowdedness and brevity make it not worth it. Constantly having to speed up or slow down to accommodate huge groups - can't really enjoy the sights.

Quick, easy, family friendly trail. The creek is fun for kids to play in when there is enough water.

May 2018

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful trail, hiked it about 2 weeks ago. A bit challenging to start (we went clockwise), just watch your feet. Middle section is gorgeous. Definitely will do again and also a great place to take guests.

In Giant city State Park is the Devil's Standtable Trail. From the paved parking lot cross the road and you'll be at this giant rock pinnacle in minutes. The best view is from behind the large wooden sign in the woods where you can stand beside the cliff for an unobstructed view/photo.

I drove to the Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area to hike. In the hotel that night I saw a commercial for Giant City State Park, which wasn't on my list of hikes, so I looked into it. Giant City State Park is in the middle of nowhere but is a hidden gem. I was very impressed by the quality of this park. All picnic areas were mowed, there were plenty of signs everywhere so you always knew where to go, and the overall condition of the park was excellent so I was glad that I came here. The Nature Trail has plenty of paved parking and an obvious trailhead with an information kiosk. A short walk leads to the loop and arrows direct trekkers in a CCW direction around the loop. For most of the loop the trail is wide and smooth and meanders through various rock canyons formed by large slabs of the cliff calving off making for some fun passages to explore. To me, as an out-of-stater, this would be the type of park that I would enjoy bringing my family to visit. I've written many reviews but this one is the first that I discussed not only the quality of the trail but also the quality of the park itself.

Quick little trail, interesting to see the rock fort and hike up a beautiful cascading waterfall.

5 months ago

Wild flower wonderland, rocks and waterfalls. Great start to the day of four trails total near Giant City park lodge.

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