City State Park
Makanda, Illinois (Just S of Carbondale)
in the Northern part of the Shawnee Hills, Giant City State Park is roughly 4,000
acres of camping, hiking trails, unusual geological formations and wldlife viewing.
Park Address: Giant City State Park, 235 Giant City State Park, Makanda,
20 Miles of Hiking Trails
Dogs are allowed if kept on a leash.
water tower in Giant City State Park. The
1972 Winner of the American Water Tower Assn's Award of Excellence.|
center (completed in late 2000) has museum exhibits, park employees on duty, rest
rooms, and a gift shop. Campsites are available and RV spaces are full service
with electricity and water. There are also primitive sites and equestrian camping
sites (without amenities). |
The Park Lodge was a 1930s CCC product furnished
with carved oak furniture. Built on the park's highest elevation, the water tower
great views of the Shawnee Hills.
in a Illinois Nutshell|
The park's “Stone Fort” is an archeological
site dating to about 600 AD. Constructed of heavy sandstone blocks in a half-acre
circle. The fort's real function remains unknown. With statehood in 1818, Illinois
named the region after the huge sandstone slabs that have broken away from a bluff.
People viewed the slabs as a street for giants - hence the name. Over the years
visitors have carved their names and initials into the slabs - some dating back
to the early 1800s.
Hiking trails range from a beginner's 1/3 mile trail
to a strenuous16 miler. Another short trail leads to the geological feature of
Devil’s Standtable, a free-standing mushroom-shaped sandstone outcropping. The
Giant City Nature Trail is the park's most popular since it leads to the "main
street” of Giant’s City - the stones that give the park its name.
sandstone formations are here - including another balanced rock. Drip rocks and
small waterfalls make this trail a delight - especially for hikers fond of ferns
and moses - and what hiker isn't? The Trillium Trail is a short two-miler best
seen in the spring for its abundant wildflowers.
The park's "monster"
trail is the 16-miler called by the innocuous name of Red Cedar Trail. It is recommended
that one visit the park a few times to "warm up" on the shorter trails before
attempting the Red Cedar.
Wildlife that might be seen - but doesn't necessarily
want to be seen, includes coyotes, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, red fox, weasels,
and mink. Snakes are present (including copperheads and timber rattlers) and for
birders there are red-tailed hawks, warblers, turkey vultures (somebody finds
them interesting even though you don't) and then you have your more run-of-mill
woodland creatures like raccoons, possums, skunks, turtles, squirrels, and rabbits.
The park is run by the Illinois Department of Conservation.
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