Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois
I’m extra excited to share Garden of the Gods with everyone. Not only am I excited because it’s a beautiful view but because this is a place that I’ve grown up by all my life! It’s located in Southern Illinois, just an hour away from where I’ve always called home. This is a place I’ve spent hours upon hours with my friends just sitting and enjoying the views that the earth has to offer. Now I can share it with you so you can see the beauty too!
This is a hike that is known for it’s “Camel Rock.” A large, uniquely shaped rock that looks just like – yup, you guessed it – a camel. If you look at some of the pictures in this post, or really any picture of Garden of the Gods in general, you’ll probably notice the Camel Rock. Can you see it?
How hard is the hike?
Not hard at all. It’s probably the easiest hike that I’ve done. This is a hike made for everyone. The drive up helps a lot with getting up to the view. Then, once you park your car, you take a flight of stairs up… it’s probably a five minute walk up the stairs. Then BAM you’re at the view already. Let’s just say… I used to walk up and down stairs 10X more on an average day in high school.
From there, you can sit around and look at the view or go crazy climbing rocks. I’m more of a “let’s sit around a look at the trees” type of person but I’ve went there with friends that literally want to hike everywhere all day long. This place suits both types of people. Just be sure not to get too crazy around the rocks. Just because it’s an easy hike doesn’t mean it isn’t as dangerous as other hikes located that far off the ground!
First off, don’t get this place confused with Garden of the Gods located in Colorado Springs, CO. That’s definitely a different place, but that doesn’t mean the views are lacking.
Garden of the Gods is located in Shawnee National Forest in a town called Herod, IL.
Address: Picnic Rd, Herod, IL 62947
Shawnee National Forest is located approximately:
2.5 hours South East of St. Louis, MO.
3 hours North West of Nashville, TN.
4 hours North of Memphis, TN.
To visit and hike: Free as free can be. There are no parking fees nor entrance fees to go to these rocks. You just find a parking spot and start hiking!
To camp: Their campsites are $10/night.
They have a small amount of campsites open year round that are first come first serve. No reservations needed. So it’s important to get there early to guarantee a spot to camp, especially if you’re going during the summer because their busiest time is when the weather is nicest (April-October).
Is it a good place to watch the sunset?
YOU BETCHA. It’s positioned absolutely perfect when it comes to watching the sun set. I try to stay until sunset every time I go because it’s just so gorgeous.
Is it pet friendly?
Yes, 100%! Bring your best pal with you to walk the trails. They even have trails for horseback riding. I personally don’t know where the exact trails are for this specific activity but you can click here to get more information if you are looking to bring your horse with you.
So what you are waiting for? Buy the Plane Ticket to my neck of the woods!
Are you on a road trip through the midwest? Be sure to check out New Harmony, Indiana which is only an hour away from Garden of the Gods!