Giant City State Park is located in Makanda, IL, and is known for its impressive landscape, which includes massive sandstone cliffs, towering trees, and unique rock formations. Exploring Giant City’s scenic trails is a must-stop when visiting southern Illinois. In addition to the park’s 17 miles of hiking trails, there are other opportunities for rock climbing, horseback riding, and fishing. Below, you will find a 1-day itinerary to get your adventure planning started! Please reach out with any questions😊
Giant City State Park has a lodge with 3 cabin options, 85 electric sites, 14 primitive sites, a group camping area, and an equestrian campground. Reservations for the Giant City Lodge can be made here- Lodge Reservations. Campground reservations can be made here- Giant City Camping.
For lodging options outside the park, check out Carbondale, IL, just 7 miles north of the park. We visited several other parks while in the area and stayed at Shawnee Forest Campground outside the park. It was beautiful, and I would definitely recommend it. It was roughly 30 minutes from the park.
We mostly eat in while camping, but check out Carbondale, IL, for dining options. The Giant City Lodge also has a restaurant on site. Menus and hours can be found here- Giant City Lodge Restaurant.
Must Know Before You Go:
- Most trails can get muddy and rocky. Proper footwear is recommended.
- During the summer months, plan on bringing insect repellant.
Decent service throughout the park.
1 Day Itinerary
Visitor Center- At this park, your first stop should be the Visitor Center. It has exhibits with great information about the area and rangers if you have any questions before heading out.
Indian Creek Shelter Nature Trail- This easy trail is 0.8 miles long with minimal elevation gain. The path has 5 bridge crossings over the beautiful creek and even a small waterfall over a large rock rock shelf, in the right season. There is minimal parking at the trailhead, but even in the summer, we had this rustic trail to ourselves.
Post Oak Trail- For this trail, park near the pond. The first 0.3 miles of this trail is paved and wheelchair/stroller accessible. After that, you can either loop back around to the parking lot or take the narrow trail farther for an excellent view of the Devil’s Standtable from above. The second portion of the trail follows the cliff ledge, so you will want to be careful with little ones. If you hike the entire route, it is 1 mile roundtrip with minimal elevation gain. If you download the AllTrails map, it is beneficial if you choose to do the entire trail.
Devil’s Standtable- Next, head to the lot for the Devil’s Standtable. If you did the entire Post Oak Trail, you’ve already seen it from above, but this trail will take you into the canyon, where you can get views of the Devil’s Standtable from below. This trail may be only 0.3 miles, but the massive canyon walls and enormous rock shelves are views you won’t want to miss. There were also rock climbers on this trail that our kiddos loved watching scale the steep sandstone cliffs.
Giant City Nature Trail- If you hike only one trail at Giant City, this is the one you can’t miss. It is such a fantastic trail! The trail is 1 mile roundtrip with approximately 200 ft of elevation gain. Head right to hike the trail counterclockwise at the first split in the trail. The entire trail is full of incredible rock formations to explore that will undoubtedly make you feel like you’ve left the Midwest! If your crew is ready for lunch, picnic tables, a playground, and restrooms are at the trailhead.
Stonefort Trail- For the next hike, head to the Stonefort Trail parking lot. The trailhead will be just across Giant City Park Road from the lot. This trail is 0.3 miles roundtrip with 100 ft of elevation gain. Once you reach the top of the hill, the rest of the path is a short loop around the bluff before returning to the main road. The Stonefort Trail takes you to a stone wall measuring over 200 ft long from the Late Woodland Period. The purpose of the wall remains unknown, although archaeologists do not think it was used for fighting purposes, despite its name.
Trillium Trail- Head to the Trillium Trail parking lot for the last trail of the day. If you take a left onto the main road from the Stonefort lot, the Trillium Trail parking lot is just a little further north on Giant City Park Road. This trail is 2 miles roundtrip with 150 ft of elevation gain. It will take you through dense forest and past more massive sandstone cliffs and impressive rock formations. And while this trail is still relatively short, it is the most rugged of the day😊
I hope you have an incredible adventure at Giant City State Park!
Looking for another Illinois State Park nearby? Check out our Fern Clyffe State Park Itinerary!
Also, check out our hiking gear and apparel below!