One of the most photographed locations in the state, Garden of the Gods' scenic beauty is extraordinary. In the recreation area you can hike, camp, nature watch or picnic.
The Observation Trail features unique sandstone rock formations and panoramic views of the surrounding Garden of the God Wilderness. Interpretive signs explain the geological history. The 1/4-mile trail is made of natural sandstone and takes about an hour to walk. It contains short, steep grades and steps; benches are located along the trail and as a whole the trail is not tiring. Caution should be used due to the high cliffs in the area.
See below for details about camping, picnicking and other activities in the Garden of the Gods.
Garden of the Gods brochure/map
Great camping, limited facilities, no showers within 10 miles. Awesome views.
We did a quick day hike and really enjoyed the trails! Several options for beginners and experienced hikers. For the beginners, bring water and a map!
It is so beautiful here but if you need an actual bathroom, the pits were so gross this last trip. You can’t beat these views! One of the prettiest in Shawnee Forest in my opinion.
A lot of good hiking and the view is great
10/10 would recommend. Super nice and convenient camp sights & not a far walk to the sight seeing location!
We showed up at 4:00 and had a selection of about 6 spots.. the rest filled up shortly after. It’s no surprise this place is beautiful. If you can watch the sunset from the observation trail DO IT you won’t regret it!!
My family and I camped here for the night and it was great. Very clean, and well maintained. The bathrooms are on close proximity to the sites. Only downside is that there are only 12 sites, and they are first come, first serve… so you might want to have a second option on a weekend.
Two of the reviews are not the Illinois subject area but of somewhere in the western US. Garden of The Gods in Illinois is a beautiful area and great for relaxing, hiking, sightseeing, campings, and picnicking. Great for a day trip or extended stay while exploring the lands between the mighty rivers.
Garden of the Gods is a wonder to behold… especially if you are wondering how this could possibly be in Illinois. The Shawnee National Forest is a geological paradise that remains somewhat off most people's radar (luckily). Garden of the Gods may be considered its crowned jewel, which does cause it to attract a lot of visitors. The campground is small and basic with pit toilets. Campground is clean and with friendly staff but the real campsites are those that you hike into. There is nothing better than hiking in and stumbling onto a perfect cliff overhang that you can call home for the night. The hiking and views are well worth the trip, just watch your footing on some of those cliffs.
Beautiful open area with lots of places to climb and explore! I loved the hiking trail that takes you all the way around the park