Wanted to get this on the schedule, so we could see who all can attend!
Heres some info:
Garden of the Gods is located in southern Illinois in the Shawnee National Forest. The Wilderness area is over 320 million years old and covers over 3,300 acres of beautiful old growth forest.. The sediment rock in this area is over 4 miles deep and the fractured bedrock has created some interesting rock formations that represent various objects.
Garden of the Gods has two main trail systems. The best known trail is the Observation Trail. It follows a .25 mile stone path that leads to some spectacular overlooks of the Garden of the Gods Wilderness area and views of unusual rock formations. This is an interpretive trail that has some interesting history about the geology of this area. There are other trails that lead to places such as Indian Point, Anvil Rock, Mushroom Rock and Big H. These trails combine for about 5.5 miles and are interconnecting. There are maps available at the park which is open year round.
The second main trail that goes through this area is the River-to-River Trail. The trail enters the east end of the park from High Knob just below the camping area and proceeds west crossing the blacktop to the Observation Trail area. The River-to-River Trail then proceeds south below the rock formations, before bearing west again. It continues for 8 miles to Herod. When leaving Garden of the Gods, there is a good camping area about 1.5 miles west with a stream for water. No more water for 3 miles.
I am trying to link a map of driving directions:
Pretty much we will be heading out I24 west, then getting off the highway at exit 40 Eddyville/ Kuttawa, KY. The we meander into Illinois. The trip is about 3 and 1/2 hours. We can Car pool, and I would be happy to drive. I can fit three plus me. Any body know a good spot to meet?
The Forest service is sending me a detailed map of the area. There are no reservations for primitive camping, and there are no real designated back country sites in the park. I will let you know in the next couple of days what the exact route will be. Some of the elevation changes are steep! So keep that in mind if you are a beginner, as you may want to pace yourself:)
4. Take the ramp on the left onto I-40 W/I-65 N
Continue to follow I-65 N
5. Slight left at I-24 W (signs for Clarksville/TN-24 W)
6. Take exit 40 for US-62/US-641 toward Eddyville/Kuttawa
7. Turn right at KY-93 S/US-62 E/US-641 N
Continue to follow US-62 E/US-641 N
8. Turn left at US-641 N
9. Turn left at KY-91 N/Marion Rd
Continue to follow KY-91 N
10. Turn left at W Belleville St/KY-91 N
Continue to follow KY-91 N
11. Take the Crittenden - Cave-In-Rock ferry to Cave-In-Rock
12. Continue straight onto Canal St/IL-1 N
Continue to follow IL-1 N
13. Turn left at 5600E/Co Rd 13/Ponds Hollow Rd
14. Continue onto Pounds Hollow Rd
15. Continue onto Co Rd 9/Karbers Ridge Rd
Continue to follow Karbers Ridge Rd
16. Turn right at Co Rd 10/Garden of Gods Rd
Garden of Gods