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.

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
1 month 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.

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

Loved this trail, starts out well groomed wide path, leads to impressive rock formations and “far-man” squeeze. Good work out with up hill segments. Took us 40 minutes.

I Brought 3 of my dogs and it was a lot of fun. Definitely would recommend it.

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this trail! Difficult on the knees but definitely worth the trip. It had rained a lot the past few days so there was a lot of running water.

Fairly busy trail. Not a lot of privacy but it had beautiful sites of sandstone rock ledges surrounded in local history.

This is one of my many favorite trails. I have walked it in all seasons and there is always something breathtaking about the scenery, even in the winter. When the leaves have fallen, I see more of the bluffs. I walked it today and things are budding and there are no flying bugs or spider webs in my face because it's so early in the year. I look forward to seeing it again all blossomed out.

This is a really great trail. However listen to other reviewers and take the trail counter clockwise. I chose to take trail clockwise and spent excess time going up hills. I completed trail In 6 hours. I did stop at red cedar trail campground there are picnic tables, fire pits, and bathrooms. Brought quick snack to refuel for energy.

And completed the entire trail in 1 day (6 hours). If time was available I would have loved to spent the night at the campground. I will be back to try this trail again.

I saw several turkeys, squirrels, and birds. No snakes thank goodness.

Some trail tips take bug spray tick repellant. Bring extra water. Watch where you step on the rocks they are slippery. The trail for most part is well marked, there were a few points I had to look @ the map. The trail is marked with white diamond w a red circle. The trail does interloop with river to river trail and horse trail, just make sure to look for those white diamonds because they can be easy to miss if your looking at the beauty of the hike.

This hike was sweet. It doesn’t go in a loop unless i couldn’t see the trail properly. We went a little off trail to hang out on the rocks.

backpacking
2 months ago

fun trail. had to look at the map once or twice, but besides that had a good hike.

Great easy hike! Well maintained trail with gravel, stairs, wooden decking, and lots of trail signs. It's a perfect hike for kids with great variety and rock formations!

Easy hike and so beautiful!! The rock formations are beautiful. Try to catch it after a good rain for some pretty waterfalls. Loved this!

short, easy hike with tons of fun climbing opportunities make this perfect for a group with mixed abilities.

Very short hike. Cool rock formations that are easy to get to. I'd probably give this trail an easy rating vs. moderate. All trails are gravel so kind of hard on your feet.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice trail with historic artifacts and great overlooks.
With: Donna Tomlinson & Matt Tomlinson

Nice quick hike to with the added bonus of getting some All Trails points ;- ]
With: Donna Tomlinson and Matt Tomlinson

Nice trail. Easy to follow. The waterfall is pretty active, due to recent rain. Be careful on wooden bridges. They are slippery.

4 months ago

great cliff to picnic on

walking
5 months ago

The scenery is not great probably because of the season - there are barely trees with leaves on. The trail is not hard. It took us 40-50 minutes to finish it. There wasn’t much to see except for some frozen waterfalls. I think it’d be better to go when it gets warmer.

hiking
6 months ago

Using this as a neutral rating as the trail was closed on 12/2/2017. Hopefully it will re-open soon. Was looking forward to a nice day hike.

This is a great trail for beginners. For the most part it was well marked. It was perfect for a fall hike. I think it would be more difficult in the spring/summer.

This trail was well marked with red circles and hiking in the fall is the perfect time! I would totally recommend this as a great two day hike for anyone that enjoys different scenery every step you go. It was a hiking challenge but nothing dangerous and safe for children which is what I wanted.

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