Giant City Nature Trail

Union County, Illinois
Elevation Gain709ft
Trailhead Elevation568ft
Elevation Min/Max568/707ft
Elevation Start/End568/568ft

Giant City Nature Trail

Giant City Nature Trail is a hiking trail in Union County, Illinois. It is a mile long and begins at 568 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is two miles with a total elevation gain of 709 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking.
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Virginia Beach, VA
Pathfinder | 156 pts
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Carbondale, IL
Explorer | 40 pts
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Giant City State Park is a great spot for day-hikers with a multitude of short .25 - 2.0 mile trails spotted through the park. The rock formations on some of the shorter trails are spectacular. Backpackers have an option with the 12.2 mile Red Cedar trail which shares a portion of ground with the River to River . There is a crude campsite around 5.6 miles into red cedar (no water) and the trail skirts the perimeter of the park. This is a good family spot for camping with a nice lodge and dining room.
Newark, IL
Pathfinder | 120 pts
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We hiked several of the smaller trails including Indian Creek Shelter, Post Oak Nature, Giant City Nature, and Devil's Standtable. I'm sure the rocks wouldn't be all that impressive to a mountaineer but they are fairly impressive for Illinois. The trails are short, well maintained and easy to hike.

Unfortunately, the loop trail around the park (Red Cedar Trail), along with Stonefort and Trillium are all closed due to ice damage from this past spring. I spoke with the Ranger and she wasn't sure when that section of the park might reopen. We had planned the loop trail for Sunday of our visit but had to go with plan B.

This is one of my favorite state parks in Illinois to visit and hike. Plenty of other trails in the region to make a longer trip out of it.

As for wildlife we observed several deer, too many gray squirrels to count, and a woodpecker or two.

Giant City Nature Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Hikes St. Louis (Falcon Guides)
JD Tanner and Emily Ressler-Tanner
"This short nature trail is beautiful year-round. In the spring hundreds of species of wildflowers grow on and around the massive sandstone structures; in the summer the towering tree canopy provides hikers and wildlife with a respite from the sun. In the fall hikers are treated to a wash of fall color from more than seventy-five species of trees; and in the winter icicles hang delicately from the overhanging cliffs. Southern Illinois is rich in both natural and cultural history, and Giant City State Park offers visitors many opportunities to explore them." Read more
JD Tanner
"The Giant City Nature Trail is a f avorite for regular visitors to Giant City State Park. Located near the D evils Standtable, an amazing r ock formation, the natur e trail is perfect for wildlife viewing, photography, and exploring. Nearby picnic areas make for a full day of outdoor recreation." Read more

Trail Information

Union County
Nearby City
Trail Guides

Best Hikes St. Louis

Wild Flowers
Giant City State Park, 235 Giant City Rd., Makanda, IL 62958; (618) 457-4836;
Local Contacts
USGS Makanda; park map available at visitor center.
Local Maps

Trail Log