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Wanting to explore some of the Shawnee Forest, we selected Giant City as it was recommended by a friend (and one of the few places that accepts reservations ahead of time!) The campsite was good and we loved that it backed up to some woods, which our kids explored often. The vault toilets were fine and the play ground was good. We really enjoyed the hikes, seeing the sandstone "walls" that makes the area famous. We found several short but gorgeous hiking trails, which was perfect for our young children. We also had the entire loop of the campground to ourselves, as it was early spring and our spring break was an off time. We ate a great dinner at the lodge, which has beautiful panoramic views and the food was tasty too. We liked the family style fried chicken dinner! Very prompt service, too.
We found this little gem at a last minute camping adventure on the way home from out of town. It was one of our first tent camping experiences. Nothing fancy, but the pit toilet and water supply worked just fine for us and our kids. We found some beautiful hiking and water holes.
Sites/Facilities: Sites are spaced well apart. Each site has a generous sized paved pad plus an additional paved space for a second vehicle. Each site has a large metal picnic table, fire grate, electric hookup, water, and lantern hook. Site 172 has no visible neighbors to the north and has a filtered water view through the trees. In my opinion, the best sites in the Pine Tree Loop are 172 and 173 plus 183-186; all of these have filtered water views.
Bathhouse: The bathrooms are VERY small and basic (no soap, no hooks) – one tiny sink and two stalls (no showers) but clean. Campers were encouraged to use the facilities in their RVs but we don’t have that option.
Activities/Amenities: There are a nice playground and a nearby beach/boat launch area, which is separate from the campground. There is also a paved bicycle path that appeared to connect the beach area to the campground, but I didn’t access it so cannot verify this.
Conclusion: We arrived late, just missing checking in(booth closed at 6 pm but check-in is not until 5 pm?) and departed by 10 am the next morning so we could not take advantage of the bike path or other potential amenities but for the price ($10 seniors), it is a very good value; the only thing keeping this from a five-star review is the TINY bathroom and I did not see a dumpster to get rid of our garbage (might have missed it). We would definitely return.
Beautiful and spacious camp sights in a quiet environment. We have had deer playing on an adjacent site to us. Fun place to camp with family and friends. Never want to leave.
Beautiful location. Definitely off the beaten path. There was another group of campers but they camped on the trail. Grave Road getting there was a bit rough for my Ram Promaster. Hill down to trail head could get slick if wet weather. Was alittle nervous getting out after it had rained. But luckily it wasn't to much rain. Definitely coming back when warmer.
Hawn State Park is a park like no other. Nowhere else in the state of Missouri have I been able to camp and feel like I'm in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. The car camping area is nestled in the middle of a pine filled valley. There's nothing more refreshing than sitting in the evening and hearing the wind whistle through the pines. The trails are amazing with big boulders and beautiful creeks. If you're car camping take the extra walk to the walk-in camping sites. It's like a micro backpacking trip. And if you like backpacking, Hawn state park is the place to do it!
This is a nice campground on Rend Lake. The sites themselves are nice and the lake is beautiful! Our only issue is that the sites on not very level. Ours had a significant slope when we backed up the electric hookups. But it was a concrete pad with a concrete picnic table, firepit, and a tall hook for a light or garbage out of bear's reach. We saw a nice playground for kids. We would stay here again, just scout for a more level site.
Was able to find the camping right away. There was one other group set up. Nice roomy sites with fire rings. After setting up I took a great hike on the nearby trails connected to Jackson falls. Some wonderful hiking and an abundance of climbing! I did some free climbing on small boulders and managed to climb my way back to the top of the gorge. Upon returning i noticed the other camp had left the grounds to myself. Rain came over night and eventually forced my hand to leave the next day and dry out. Definitely going back. Careful with the rain, the camp is right on the stream so I woke to being surrounded by streams. The path out is also very steep. I was able to handle it with a small car but any more mud or rain I would have been stuck. good luck!
Red Bud Campground Shawnee National Forest Bell Smith Springs Recreational Area Harrisburg, IL
Red Bud Campground is a secluded heavily tree covered campground perfect for tent and RV Camping. This campground can accommodate up to a 24ft RV Pull Behind RV and small motorhomes. Be careful if you are going to try this campground in a motorhome as it can be tight to turn into some spots. If possible you may want to scout the area first before going.
There is no amenities at the sights so if you are RV camping you will need to bring your own power and water for your sight but there is a place to fill your drinking water. There are several restrooms on sight and I didn’t see a dump station for RV’s however I imagine you can empty your cassette toilets in the restrooms.
As far as internet I have AT&T and I had internet up until I arrived. Once in place there was no internet access.
Intermittently I would get one bar but it was not enough of a signal to be of any use. I can’t comment to the service areas of T-Mobile or other providers. At any rate you should bring something to read for the evenings or just enjoy the evening with a group of friends.
Quiet time is from 10pm to 6am so if you are packing solar for your power you will be good to go because it’s quiet.
If you are RV’ing it be sure to conserve your power.
The area is quiet and I camped with a tow behind 22ft RV when I went on October 23rd, 2020. At that time there were a lot of campers. This sight seems most popular and well suited for tent campers and I was only one of 2 RV campers that weekend.
There is a short 5 minute walk to the Bell Smith Springs if you are up for a great hike.
If you have dogs they will need to be on a leash.
Overall I loved this area and can’t wait to go again!