So first of all- I think it’s fair to state before I leave a review that my husband and I prefer primitive and private camping. The fewer people we see while we’re out, the better. We live in a city so when we camp, we want the opposite. If you enjoy RV camping or don’t mind not so Private spots, this is a decent spot to spend the night. If you like primitive/private camping- il fill you in below!
We do tent camping and Saw there were walk-in sites and hike in sites at this campground. Usually walk-in sites are pretty private and dispersed well - atleast where we’ve been before. The 14 “primitive” camping sites were right next to eachothwr with little to no privacy at all. Good tree cover for shade but otherwise you’re basically setting up your tent and area in an open field. That was a little disappointing to us because it wasn’t what we thought we would find. The RV spots also seem super close together but again- we like things spread out so maybe it would be an OK place for some.
The vault toilets near the tent sites were…as clean as vault toilets get! And we did not use tje shower facilities so can’t speak on that.
If we had been just the 2 of us, we would’ve hiked in to do our camping along one of the hiking paths but we were meeting two other friends and were unsure if they would want to hike miles to a spot so we opted for the tent spots just after the RV campground. If you want more privacy for an evening of camping, you’ll need to come with your gear packed up decently enough to hike it out atleast a mile onto the trails. There is camping allowed along the trails as long as you are 100 ft from the trail so that was an option, but in certain spots along the trail it’s challenging to find a clearing (hammocks would be great along the trail). There is also an official primitive camping site halfway through the 12 mile loop of the Red Ceder Trail. We day hiked almost the whole loop but made a Weird little detour so we didn’t get to check these spots out.
We were hoping to find a campsite that- as get as difficulty of accessibility level- was in between a 6 mile hike and the tent spots in the field but there isn’t any official spot like that even tho there’s tons of space and potential for it. Rant over about the campground. Let’s talk about the hiking! The hiking was truly awesome and felt like it balanced out my disappointment with the campground. Doing the whole 12 mile loop of tje Red Cedar Trail was a challenge for us! We really enjoyed it. In some spots, the trail markers are a little confusing, but overall it’s decently marked and the map is somewhat helpful just to kindve know vaguely where you are. The 2nd day, we went back and did about half rhe loop and also checked out the more popular section of the trails back there that include Giant City Nature Trail, Devils Stand Table, and a few others. Very cool rock formations. Pretty busy in the weekend over there but the test of the trails away from that area with those big landmarks was completely deserted and there are some super cool rock formations not on the map at all.
Over all, this was a fun 4 days. We would return and plan on hiking out into the trails to camp for our evenings. If you like privacy around your campfire at night, I can’t recommend the campground.
This is a very family-friendly campground. Sites are one right after the other (gravel and pretty level) and no trees in between for privacy. But still didn't feel too crowded. Shower house was clean and had good water pressure. Playground was closed due to COVID. Lodge looked nice but only had outside dining or pickup due to COVID so we didn't check it out. Trails were great. There are a few that are very short so they would be good for beginner hikers. However, they are still pretty rugged. The one mile Nature Trail was very nice.
Giant City is otherwise wonderful. A site wasn't hard to get in June, the campground is quiet and beautifully green with decent space between sites, the hiking trails are A+, and kid-friendly as long as you don't let them climb too high. The kids were able to ride bikes through the campground. Raccoons were numerous and fearless, and kept approaching us at the playground, around the fire at night and kept our friends who were camping with us up all night. We slept through. You can buy firewood at the stable, and I was pleasantly surprised it was properly seasoned and dry. We run into bad firewood often when buying at state parks. Overall Giant City is great and we will return.
The sites are gravel and some are extremely unlevel. Electric hookups. Pit toilets but the shower house was nice and clean. The trails in this CCC era park are marvelous. We also loved the Lodge for dinner and climbing the water tower. We will definitely be staying here again.
This is your run of the mill campground. Lots of RVs, close sites, not much privacy. That being said there is nothing wrong with it, it’s just not a campground I’d go out of my way to stay at again.
Park is extra clean. Pads are level. Lots of shade. You will love this campground. About a dozen wineries nearby. Love this area and camping ground.
This campground was wonderful! The campsites were huge. There were trees everywhere which were great for shade and hanging hammocks. Many of the sites were pull throughs which is nice for larger rvs. Several bluff hikes with large rock formations and lush greenery were nearby. The lodge offered a delicious all you can eat fried chicken family style dinner. Lakes nearby for fishing, kayaking & paddle boarding.
This is a wonderful place. I camped here as a teen and returning last summer was a great experience. In July the campground was nearly empty. We had our pick of nice shaded sites. The facilities were well maintained with new asphalt roads and clean pit toilets and water. The camp host was very welcoming and helpful. We had dinner at the historic lodge which is very popular and known for their huge portions and outstanding fried chicken. The lodge is worth the visit alone. The rock formations that make up the park are great for repelling and hiking. The hardwood forest provides great cover. If your visiting Southern Illinois this is high on the list.
We stayed here during the winter while visiting my brother who was in college nearby. He and his friends seem to camp here quite often and it was a great choice. Even in the winter the sites were quite clear and clean and it provided great access to nearby trails and hiking.
Due to the somewhat rural location you could not beat the view of the stars at night.
For climbers, there is a ton of nearby trad and sport climbing. The main wall stays wet for a while so if it has recently rained you may need to find somewhere else.
We stayed Easter Weekend here in the campground and had a great time. The campground is clean and maintained. Some sites are gravel and some are asphalt. Not sure if they are upgrading a little at a time?? There are plenty of trees for shade. Some sites are close together and some have more room in between them. The picnic tables are old and seem to be spread around as camper are moving them around. The main bathhouse is older, but nice and clean! There is a vault only bathroom at the back of the campground. No water hook up at each site, only electricity. . While you are here, check out the Lodge for dinner one night and climb to the top of the water tower observation deck for some amazing views! Make the quick drive to Makanda and explore the little hippy town. Don’t forget to take a stroll through the secret garden! . The Giant City Nature Trail and Devils Standtable were really pretty, easy strolls. The Trillium Trail is a little more rugged for those who prefer less crowded, slightly tougher trails.