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Garden of the Gods Observation Trail is a 0.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Karbers Ridge, Illinois that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 0.5 mi Elevation gain 39 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Wheelchair friendly

Kid friendly

Stroller friendly

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Cave

Forest

Paved

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Muddy

Rocky

Scramble

Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Observation Trail is a 1/4-mile flagstone loop walk containing unique sandstone rock formations and panoramic views of the surrounding Garden of the God Wilderness.

Illinois Bureau of Tourism, J. R. Thompson Ctr. Suite 3-400, 100 West Randolph , Chicago, IL, 60601

Directions from Harrisburg: take Highway 145 south 5 miles to Highway 34, turn south. Take 34 south for 5 miles, then east on Karbers Ridge Road 2.5 miles to Garden of the Gods Road. Turn north onto Garden of the Gods Road. 1.5 miles to recreation area entrance road. There are directional signs from Harrisburg to the recreation area.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (449)
Photos (603)
Recordings (228)
Completed (1117)
KATIE DIVALERIO
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Very pretty views. Enjoyed looking at all the rocks. Short and easy. Great views

Michelle Monteil
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 07 2020
HikingRocky

This trail is short, I would not recommend small children unless you are carrying them, or plan on not checking out the sites. The views from this trail are so cool, lots of bluffs!

Zubaer Tazin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 05 2020
Hiking

Heavily trafficked, rock-paved trail. Good view.

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Khaleb Straight
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jun 26 2020

Super short and super packed BUT it was a great place to take pictures.

Leah Geiger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020
Hiking

Absolutely amazing views!!!

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Harrison Arthur
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jun 19 2020
Hiking

The trail was decently busy but it was mid-day on a Friday. Beautiful sights but I bit of trash around.

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Doug Nguyen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 16 2020
Hiking

Driving was easy via paved highway. Parking abundant with bike racks. Easy trail, has cobblestone paths along the loop. Decent spots to rest either on rocks or benches. Beautiful rock formations, can see the forest for a long way. Would go again with friends.

Julie Anderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 12 2020
Hiking

great views and fantastic climbing

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Steven Fiala
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 12 2020
Hiking

Gorgeous views. There are a good amount of people there but lots of space. Do the wilderness trail after to get away from the crowds.

Lynn Nguyen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 06 2020
Hiking

Such a beautiful view of the forest and a ton of fun to climb the rocks. Would definitely come here again!

Beth Burkart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 02 2020
Hiking

This is a beautifully maintained walk. It is paved with large stones and has several overlooks with lovely views of rock formations and wide open vistas. We went on a Sunday afternoon after we had walked several longer trails in the park. It was incredibly crowded with zero social distancing. But it is well worth the time to see the lovely scenery in Southern Illinois.

Rob Sandifer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed May 13 2020
Hiking

Beautiful scenery. Easy hike. There are lots of areas to climb on the rocks and explore. Just make sure to wear appropriate boots and clothing. This is a kid friendly trail, but there are a lot of dangerous places where falls from extreme heights is possible, so caution should be used. Overall, it's definitely worth checking out. If you just hike the trail, you can get through it in less than half an hour. But you can spend hours on the trail climbing on different rock formations and exploring side trails.

Anna O
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue May 12 2020
Hiking

This is a very short, accessible paved trail with lots of incredible scenery. If you’re planning a trip to the region, this is the spot you want to hit on “off” hours if possible (we came back in the a.m. and there was no one there). The trail was very crowded and there are some places with narrow passes We would have liked to explore more but had to keep moving through due to trail traffic! There is no water pump in the area and the campground which has water is closed due to COVID-19 so bring all the water you will need for the duration of your visit.

faith nett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Apr 22 2020

Amazing and beautiful. The kids had a blast climbing all over the rocks. However - it was closed! The gate at the entrance was locked. Vehicles were parked outside the gate and along the road, and people just walking under the gate, so we did too and it was a fine walk to the trail along the road, but added about 2 miles.

Cameron Boger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Apr 21 2020
HikingClosedRocky

The park is closed but, there is limited parking near the gate. There are signs posted stating "Do Not Park Along The Road." If you are able to park near the gate, it's about a 1.5-2 mile walk to the observation trail. The observation trail is paved so it is easy to access. The sights are beautiful with a lot of photo opportunities.

Brian Leneave
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Apr 03 2020
Hiking

Great hike, we started at the river to river trail then connected to the garden of the gods loop. We got a late start so we done half the loop to make it out before sunset. Trail was mostly dry. Beautiful rock formations and ups and downs weren’t too bad. Great place to hike!

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Christopher Earhart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Mar 09 2020
HikingMuddyOff trailRocky

This was such an amazing place. The view was absolutely gorgeous. Will be back again.

Sydney Stoewer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Mar 08 2020
Hiking

Such an amazing day out! Kind of busy but what do you expect when it’s 65 degrees on a Sunday? Beautiful trail as always!

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Betsy Wendt Reeve
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Mar 07 2020

The Garden of the Gods area of Shawnee Nat’l Forest is so beautiful! The Overlook Trail has stunning views and beautiful formations and the Garden of the Gods Trail (also called Anvil Rock and Bluff Trail on the park map I think) is great for a little longer hike. The trails are very well maintained, especially for March. Would recommend this park for excellent hiking and views!

brian s
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Feb 25 2020
Hiking

We got to the Garden of the gods trail around 4 PM on a overcast and misty day in February. we had to park absolutely to our self wow we took pictures of the beautiful vistas and climb the Bluffs. as a lifelong resident of Illinois I am amazed that I have never been to the spot before and highly recommend it to anybody.

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HiKin KY
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Feb 18 2020
Hiking

Amazing views....sketchy cliffs....bring good shoes and watch your footing.

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Paulisimo Paulisimo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Nov 17 2019
Hiking

Short little loop but tons of fun! Lots of climbing up n down and scrambling around on big rocks! Plan to spend a lot of time here to take it in.

Alec Gough
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Nov 10 2019
Hiking

Quick, easy hike to observation point. Gorgeous view with plenty of places to sit and enjoy the view from the rocks.

Bowfishing1982 Pokemon Go
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Nov 10 2019
Hiking

Very cool view! Bathroom houses, stepping stones flush with the ground for easier walking, wooden deck overlooks, really cool. Pokemon Go- 3 gyms & 5 or 6 pokestops around the area.

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Nick Tremain
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Nov 02 2019
Hiking

Crowded but the views make up for it

Eric Heuerman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Oct 27 2019
Hiking

Nice and easy for any family member.

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Li Shan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Oct 27 2019
HikingBugs
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