Need some time away?
Down in Southern Illinois, in Makanda, Illinois, near Carbondale, there rests an incredible State Park with an astounding 4,000 acres. Lying within the Shawnee National Forest is Giant City State Park. This park is full of many different wild flowers and over 72 varieties of trees, which you learn about on an interpretive trail. The park is named however, for its massive sandstone structures formed over 12,000 years ago. Earlier pioneers thought the structures resembled the streets of a giant city, thus it's name. These famous bluffs can be found on their most popular trail, the Giant City Nature Trail, which is considered a moderate trail with a length of one mile.
Giant City State Park
Whether your looking for a day trip or a weekend hiking adventure, a trip to Giant City State Park could be just the thing. There are many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Giant City boasts a diverse range of hiking trails, for the beginner to the more advanced hiker. There is also archery, horseback riding, camping, fishing, and even rappelling. With Giant City's stunning natural beauty, and many other local attractions, its sure to be a great spot for any visitor.
- During our visit to Giant City we opted to just take a walk over an actual hike. We took the Arrow Wood Self-Interpretive Trail, which was considered moderate with a length of 1/3 a mile. This interpretive trail was not only beautiful but informative as well. By that, I mean there were signs located along the trail, each stating the name and description of the tree or plant it was next to, accompanied by other facts on the foliage. I found this very cool. Immediately I was thinking “Man! This would be great for a family who was looking to get the kids out of the house AND teach them something.” I was even learning, as well as getting my nature fix! I found this to be a beneficial and unique aspect of this trail at Giant City.
- It truly is a gorgeous trail, aside from the ten million spider webs I happened to walk through. After about my fourth ‘there is a spider on me’ dance, I opted to walk the rest of the trail with hands extended and watching for them more intently. As always though, I find nature to be at a vibration that suits me, and Giant City Park was no different. There was beautiful foliage, the sound of animals in the forest, and the sunshine peeking through the canopy. It was just what I needed for a little R & R. If nature is your thing I would suggest Giant City State Park for adults and children alike. It is truly stunning.
Join Us on the Arrow Wood Interpretive Trail
Last Thoughts on Giant City State Park
You could very well spend several days relaxing and exploring Giant City. If you would like to stay in the park, there are campgrounds, cabins, and an acclaimed historic lodge. To learn more, or make reservations for the campgrounds, go to Reserve America.
For information on the lodge and cabins, trail maps, brochures for the interpretive trails, and other activities available, visit the Giant City Website.
If you would like to know more about the quaint town of Makanda, just outside the park, see our story about the boardwalk, Art, Ice Cream, and Secret Grottos.
If neither of these suit you, you can search for something that does at Find a State Park.