Giant City Nature Trail

EASY 111 reviews
#1 of 6 trails in

Giant City Nature Trail is a 1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Makanda, 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.

1.0 miles
160 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



The Giant City Nature Trail is a moderate hiking trail located within the Giant City State Park trail system near Makanda, Il. L, The trail located near the Devils Standtable, an amazing rock formation and is perfect for wildlife viewing, photography, and exploring. As you begin the trail at one of the picnic area parking lots the trail features gravel or flagstone steps originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) companies during the mid-1930's. This is a loop trail that passes by several features of interest to children, including a maze of low walls and crevices that are fun for climbing, along with a couple short tunnels, leading to Fat Man's Squeeze. Native White Oak, Shagbark Hickory, Dogwood and Maple are common along the trail along with abundant seasonal wildflowers. The trail continues on and you walk under a very large balanced rock. As you head downhill, and under a huge sandstone shelf, you can easily visualize how Native Americans used these shelters as protection from the weather.

18 minutes ago

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

1 month ago

Short but fun.

2 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.

2 months ago

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.

3 months ago

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.

3 months ago

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.

3 months ago

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

3 months ago

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

4 months ago

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!

4 months ago

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

4 months ago

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.

10 months ago

Nice trail

11 months ago

fun hike.

11 months ago

A small jaunt through the woods with great optional cave/tunnel walks. Good for dogs and small children. Short but very pretty in the grand park.

Monday, August 07, 2017

My 2 & 3 year olds loved this hike.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Awesome trail and the rock formations are pretty neat. A must see if coming to giant city. It can be heavily traveled on nice weekends though. So best bet is to hit the trail early.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

This is a good, well maintained, and wide gravel trail. You hike along and through large rock formations most of the time. There is a good amount of vertical change, so it might be challenging for someone that isn't in decent shape. A very good trail for beginners that want more of a park trail, but still want to see some really cool rock formations. Afterwards we ate at the Lodge at Giant City and everything was great. It's nice that areas like this exist in Illinois.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Liked the rock formations. Would like to do again in fall when leaves are gone.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

We've hiked this trail many times over the years with kids and grandkids and it never gets old. It's a slightly challenging hike with twists and turns and amazing nature effects. Highly recommended!

Friday, June 09, 2017

It was a great hour spent hiking with the wife. Really well done trail and allows people to make the trail as difficult as they would like. I'd definitely do it again!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

One of the main trails that is in the park. River to river trail access. Gravel trail with scenic bluff overlooks. Several caves. Believe it's 3/4 mile.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

It's only 1 mile

Monday, February 20, 2017

Simple walk through the woods with some nice rock formations. Expected more depth to it.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Crowded but beautiful

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Amazing rock formations, went while it was snowing, beautiful!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Beautiful rock formations. I highly recommend going off the beaten path and exploring for a few hours.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The fact that it is so family friendly is why I gave it a 5 star. Absolutely amazing rock features. Don't miss the Middle!!!!! We just happened to take a small trail which headed to the center. It reminded me of the movie Labyrinth in the maze. The rest of the trail is really cool too.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

This is my family's go to get out of the house for a quick hike trail. It is a good little hike for a family with lots of areas to explore of the main trail. Great for younger kids.

Monday, September 19, 2016

great hike. well maintained. perfect for kids and adults

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Great little hike, easy with some interesting geological features.

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