This camping spot is just down the road from Southern IL’s Garden Of the Gods. There were 12 camping areas. Plenty of room and trees for tents and hammocks. Also, there is a good amount of shade so if you tent in the right spot you don’t wake up roasting from the sun. The campsites have a lot of room so your neighbors don’t seem like they are on top of your site. The spots include a picnic table, hanging poles for trash or lantern, and a fire pit with movable built-in grill. The area is very wooded so unless the ground is wet you can find lots of firewood. There is a drinking water pump at the entrance of the campsite but it’s pretty chlorinated. There is no shower or running water and the toilets are pit style; but there are toilets. I don’t know if other sites had this but ours had 2 trails leading right out of the woods. Great for close to home hiking.
P.S. Beware of tailless raccoon at site 12 that likes to steal Doritos.
Me and my kids used to camp at Pharaoh Campground and Picnic Area at Garden of the Gods, Shawnee National Forest.
It hasn’t changed much, one good change is it is better maintained then in the 90’s when we used to visit. Back then you had to check the sites for drug paraphernalia before letting the kids out of the car.
A few other changes I noted were the cool barcodes to scan that give you interesting information about the area. Of course you don’t get much signal soooo.
Then there’s the bike parking area and renovated latrines. Otherwise the really cool rocks haven’t changed much, left there from an inland sea. Very awesome views.
The sites to choose from are cliff side ( don’t wonder around in the dark) and the inner area. Good space between sites and several secluded ones to choose from. There were several trails into the woods that take you to more rock formations, just watch your footing. Bring cash to pay and get your fuel and food before you drive out here. Quiet, relaxing and just plain meditation/yoga/koombyya ready!
It was an easy walk down through the picnic area to the trail at the main attraction. Then there’s the trail, River to River that runs through the area. There is a horse preparation area right by the main parking lot that has direct access to the trail.
The picnic area had a pit toilet, pavilion and several tables set in the shade on top of a short ride with parking.