With its breathtaking natural beauty and unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation, a trip to Giant City State Park near Carbondale is sure to delight visitors of all ages. From camping and horseback riding to fishing and rappelling, it's an outdoor lover's paradise. Visitors will marvel at the many wilderness trails. Especially popular is a hike on Giant City Nature Trail, home of the "Giant City Streets" - huge bluffs of sandstone formed 12,000 years ago.
Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest, Giant City State Park was named for the unique impressions made by its massive sandstone structures and a landscape like none other, clothed in lush garments of fern, moss, large flowering mints, hundreds of species of wild flowers and more than 75 varieties of towering trees.
The Giant City Visitor Center provides interpretive displays on the geology, plants, animals and history of the park, and information about other southern Illinois attractions.
The rustic beauty of the Giant City Lodge is the perfect fit for the natural splendor of the park. With three types of cabins, and the Bald Knob dining room, the lodge also features a gift shop, lounge and bar, and outdoor swimming pool. Open from early February until early December, contact the lodge for reservation information at 618-475-4921 or visit the Giant City Lodge website.
Giant City is also popular for a camping retreat, with 85 Class A campsites that can be reserved online at www.reserveamerica.com, a Class C camping area with 14 walk-in campsites, and a youth group camping area.
Visitors can enjoy picturesque natural wonders along Giant City's hiking trails, and rock climbing and rappelling are permitted in two locations. Horseback riding enthusiasts will find an equestrian campground and a 12-mile loop trail, and visitors without horses can stop by Giant City Stables.
Ponds are located throughout the park for bank fishing. Little Grassy Lake, on the east side of the park, part of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, has a boat ramp and provides anglers with opportunities to land largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie. Boats are limited to 10 horsepower motors.
For information on seasonal hunting programs at Giant City, view the site Hunter Fact Sheet.