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Southern Region
Giant City State Park
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Giant City State Park © Eric Hoffman
Giant City State Park © Eric Hoffman
Giant City State Park Big Rocks © Eric Hoffman
They should call this the avenue of the giants.
Giant City State Park © Eric Hoffman
Giant City State Park © Mal Daniel
Giant City State Park © Mal Daniel
Giant City State Park © Mal Daniel
Giant City State Park © Mal Daniel
Giant City State Park © Mal Daniel
Giant City State Park © Mal Daniel
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235 Giant City Road
Makanda, Illinois   62958

Phone: 618-457-4836
Reservations: 618-457-4836
Email: park email button icon
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
Visitors Center
A highlight of Giant City State Park is the new visitor center. The Center provides interpretive displays on the geology, plants, animals, and history of the park. An audio-visual room with a running 10 minute film about the park guides visitors through the interesting features. Visitors can pick up information about other tourist destinations in southern Illinois at the Center also.
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.
The rustic beauty of the Giant City Lodge creates an atmosphere that is unparalleled in southern Illinois. Although the lodge has been expanded and remodeled, great care has been taken to preserve the multi-hued sandstone and the white oak timber used in the initial construction in the 1930s. Many original furnishings and decorations have been restored and are still in use throughout the lodge.

Three types of cabins offering forest views are available to accommodate overnight guests. All have unique features and have been restored. Twelve historic cabins are one-room units; 18 prairie cabins are two-room units; and four bluff cabins, the largest and most scenic, can conveniently house a family of six.

The Bald Knob dining room, with seating for 170, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and has a reputation for excellent food at a reasonable price. It is especially well known for its family-style, home-fried chicken.

The lodge also features a gift shop, cocktail lounge and bar, an outdoor swimming pool and a children?s pool.

For lodge reservations, call (618) 457-4921, or write Giant City Lodge, 460 Giant City Lodge Road, Makanda, IL 62958. The Giant City Lodge is closed each year from early December to mid-February.
Nearby Accommodations
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Pinnon Lake Cabins - Buncombe, IL
Cottages 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*
businesss listing main photo
Doc's Lakeside Cabin - Jonesboro, IL
Cottages 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*
businesss listing main photo
Cedar Rock Cabins - Goreville, IL
Cottages 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*
businesss listing main photo
Cedar Sunset Cabin - Buncombe, IL
Cottages 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 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.
Rock Climbing and Rappelling
Rock Climbing/Rappelling

Climbing and rappelling are permitted at the park in two locations. The areas of Devil's Standtable cliff and Shelter #1 bluff at the Makanda entrance are accessible to climbers, and ropes are permitted on these cliffs. Climbers should bring their own equipment and go directly to the bluff. No permanent anchors allowed. No check-in is necessary. All climbing activities at the park are conducted at your own risk. Cliffs are steep, sandstone can be slippery when wet, and protected venomous copperhead snakes are found on sunny ledges, please use caution. Southern Illinois sandstone bluff plant communties are fragile, so tread lightly in these areas. Always carry out what you carry in!
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
June 8 Easy, beautiful hikes at Giant City by Rosemarie_B
park review stars; one to five
September 10 Great trails and lodge.
park review stars; one to five Food at the lodge is outstanding. Great walking trails for wildlife, birding, and plantlife.
April 1 impressive by TrueGotham
park review stars; one to five 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.
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Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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Cottages and Cabins
Enjoy a getaway to nearby Southern Illinois with Shawnee National Forest Cabins. Rustic log cabin rentals with modern comforts such as hot tubs, Wifi and satellite TV located near Garden of the God in the Shawnee National Forest.
45.1 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

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.

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Illinois State Parks