Giant City State Park '' © Mal Daniel
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USA Parks
Southern Region
Giant City State Park
235 Giant City Road
Makanda, Illinois   62958

Phone: 618-457-4836
Reservations: 618-457-4836
Giant City State Park
© All rights reserved.


Giant City State Park
© All rights reserved.


Giant City State Park
© All rights reserved.


Giant City State Park
© All rights reserved.


Giant City State Park
© All rights reserved.


Giant City State Park
© All rights reserved.


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, it?s an outdoor lover?s 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.
History of the Area
Shelter bluffs, or rock shelters, worn into the sides of the cliffs have revealed evidence of human habitation in this region from as early as 10,000 years ago, and the blackened ceilings caused by their fires are still visible today. On an 80-foot sandstone cliff near the main entrance, one can see the remains of a Native American stone wall that was erected between A.D. 600-800.

The first European settlers moved into the area from Kentucky and Tennessee in the early 1800s, and by 1850, settlers were using the land to cultivate fruit trees. During the Civil War, many of the cliffs and canyons were used as havens by soldiers of both the Union and Confederate armies.By the early 1900s, many biologists, geologists and visitors had become intrigued with the region for study and relaxation. It provided ample opportunity for both.

In 1927, the State of Illinois acquired more than 1,100 acres of land in Union and Jackson counties and dedicated the area as Giant City State Park. In 1936, the Civilian Conservation Corps completed construction of a lodge and 12 overnight cabins on the highest point in the park. Today, the park has grown to encompass 4,000 acres of spectacular countryside and the 110-acre Fern Rocks Nature Preserve.

An 82-foot, 100,000 gallon water tower was constructed in 1970 to feature a 50-foot observation deck that provides panoramic views of large expanses of the area.In 1999, a 4,725-square-foot Visitor Center was completed. The new facility houses exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the park, as well as a gift shop, audio-visual room, and a discovery corner for children.
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
 Bridle Trailsyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
Giant City is a popular weekend retreat because of its varied and well-kept campground facilities. Its Class A campgrounds provide water, electricity, showers and sanitary facilities for tent and trailer camping. There is a separate Class A equestrian campground located off the horse trail in the southwest corner of the park.

A Class C camping area with 14 walk-in sites at the south end of the family campground is available for those who prefer a more primitive setting. Water, outdoor privies, and access to showers are provided. A Youth Group camping area is available on a first come, first served basis for organized groups with adult supervision.
Nearby Accommodations
Cedar Rock Cabins - Goreville, ILCottages and Cabins
Located in beautiful Johnson County, Illinois, and nestled within the Shawnee National Forest. Enjoy the screened in porch at dusk and view the wildlife that wanders freely through the woods. The hot tub is located out of doors so you can relax in luxury beneath the stars....
11.7 miles from park*
Cedar Sunset Cabin - Buncombe, ILCottages and Cabins
Top notch accommodations on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and on the edge of the Shawnee National Forest.
7.3 miles from park*
The Davie School Inn - Anna, ILBBs / Inns
Restored and remodeled to created an Inn with all the modern conveniences yet still leave the atmosphere of the old school house. Convenient accessibility to many Southern Illinois tourism attractions.
10.7 miles from park*
Doc's Lakeside Cabin - Jonesboro, ILCottages and Cabins
Doc's Lakeside Cabin was built in 2012 and is located in beautiful Southern Illinois. Let us welcome you to setting where you can rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.
13.4 miles from park*
Pinnon Lake Cabins - Buncombe, ILCottages and Cabins
Tucked away in the picturesque rolling hills of Southern Illinois, our location rests on the highly acclaimed Southern Illinois Wine Trail. Pinnon Lake cabins are ten tranquil minutes from the edge of Shawnee National Forest. Moments from anywhere yet feels like miles from it all.
7.6 miles from park*
CLICK HERE for more accommodations

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Nearby Parks

The park is filled with excellent picnic facilities and shelters. Tables, water, fire grills and children?s playgrounds can be found throughout the facility.
Exploration of the picturesque natural wonders of Giant City State Park can be enjoyed along the Post Oak, Devil?s Standtable, Giant City, Stonefort, Indian Creek, Trillium and Arrowwood trails. The Post Oak Trail has been specially designed for disabled visitors. The 12-mile Red Cedar Hiking Trail provides an invigorating challenge to the truly dedicated backpacker.

Equestrian Options:

For the equestrian, the park has two options. If you?re bringing your own horses we have a Class A Equestrian Campground and a 12-mile loop trail that are open from May 1 to October 31 each year. All 25 campsites have electricity, hitching posts, and access to water and showers. The fee is $15.00 per night per site. Use of the sewage dump station at the main campground is permitted. The camp is located on the south end of the park. Follow the signs found throughout the park and site personnel will write you a camping permit at your campsite. At the back of the campground is a trailer parking area for day users. There is no charge for day use of the horse trail. Trail maps and information are available at the Visitors Center from 8AM - 4PM daily.

For horse enthusiasts without their own horses, the park offers guided rides. Giant City Stables is located in the park. They have an abundance of daily trail rides, in addition to summer camps and lessons. Weather permitting, the stables are open from March 15 to October 31 each year. Please call 618-529-4110 for more information about the stables, which is closed on Tuesdays.
Area Attractions
* Southern Ilinois Wine Trail

* Midland Hills Golf Course in Makanda * Stone Creek Golf Course in Makanda

* Root Beer Saloon ( a unique restaurant) in Alto Pass

* Fishing Lakes - Crab Orchard, Devil's Kitchen, Little Grassy, and Cedar Lake. Crab Orchard, Devil's Kitchen, and Little Grassy Lakes are owed by Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge - vehicle and boat stickers required by COWR.

* Bald Knob Cross in Alto Pass - 110 foot high cross.
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
September 10 Great trails and lodge.
Food at the lodge is outstanding. Great walking trails for wildlife, birding, and plantlife.
April 1 impressive by TrueGotham
the large sandstone bluffs and other sandstone rock formations are quite interesting to behold. from the trails that run along the edges of these bluffs the view is simply splendid. the park was overall amazing.
February 20 Love, love, love this park. by Lizz J.
Lots of ponds for fishing, very relaxed atmosphere, knowledgable and friendly visitors center folks. We travel from Chicago to come here and love the wildlife. Owl and coyote sounds at night. Very picturesque park and trails. Great proximity to other parks in So. Il. and Carbondale is close enough if you need to go into town for something while camping.
October 8 Best Trails / Great Food at Lodge by Paul from Motnicello
Great trails & food at the lodge. A great serene get away. Go during peach season and enjoy the surrounding orchards. Great peaches in this area. The hiking is gerat but the humidity & heat can be tough.
July 7 Beautiful park, lots of wildlife
October 7 One of my favorite horsebackriding area.
June 19 A great park for interesting hikes
A comfortable lodge provides easy access to surrounding hiking trails.

Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
Timber Ridge Outpost Cabins - Elizabethtown, ILCottages and Cabins
Come back to a simpler time when families played games together in the evenings and sat on the porch talking into the night. Enjoy some southern hospitality while staying in a real Log Cabin or a one-of-a-kind luxurious Tree House
Web Site:
48.8 miles from park*
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Weather Forecast, (62958)

From the north:Take Interstate 57 South to the Route 13 exit (Marion - Exit #54B), head west (right) on Rt. 13 toward Carbondale, go approximately 15 miles. Look for Wal-Mart on your right. Turn left at this light (Giant City Road). Continue 12 miles to the south. Giant City Road will lead you into the park.

From the south:Follow I-24 to I-57 North, or stay on I-57, to the Rt. 148 exit (Exit #45), head northwest on 148 for approximately 2 miles. Turn left on Grassy Road. There is a convenience store on this corner. Follow Grassy Road for 5-7 miles. Stay left when you come to a Y. Continue southwest on Grassy Road. Grassy Road will come to a T at Giant City Road. Turn south (left) on Giant City Road. Continue approximately 4 miles to the park.

From the east:Head west on I-70 or, if you are further south, take I-64 to I-57 South. Continue approximately 50 miles south from I-64 to the Route 13 exit (Marion - Exit #54B), head west on Rt. 13 toward Carbondale, go approximately 15 miles. Look for Wal-Mart on your right. Turn left at this light (Giant City Road). Continue 12 miles to the south. Giant City Road will lead you into the park.

From the west:IF YOU DON?T MIND SOME 2-LANE -Head east on I-64 approximately 50 miles from St. Louis. Take the Rt. 127 (Nashville) exit south. Continue south for approximately 50 miles to Murphysboro. At Murphysboro, go left or east for approximately 10 miles. You will pass through the town of Carbondale. Watch for the mall on your right. When you see Wal-Mart on your left, this is your light. Take a right here on Giant City Road heading south for 12 miles into the park.

USA Parks
Southern Region
Giant City State Park
© 2015