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Backpacking Trip to Garden of the Gods, Illinois

  • Apr 10, 2010 · 7:00 AM

Hey everybody!

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 5.1 mi
5. Slight left at I-24 W (signs for Clarksville/TN-24 W)
Entering Kentucky 98.3 mi
6. Take exit 40 for US-62/US-641 toward Eddyville/Kuttawa
0.3 mi
7. Turn right at KY-93 S/US-62 E/US-641 N
Continue to follow US-62 E/US-641 N
3.6 mi
8. Turn left at US-641 N
8.6 mi
9. Turn left at KY-91 N/Marion Rd
Continue to follow KY-91 N 9.5 mi
10. Turn left at W Belleville St/KY-91 N
Continue to follow KY-91 N 11.3 mi
11. Take the Crittenden - Cave-In-Rock ferry to Cave-In-Rock
Entering Illinois 0.4 mi
12. Continue straight onto Canal St/IL-1 N
Continue to follow IL-1 N
12.8 mi
13. Turn left at 5600E/Co Rd 13/Ponds Hollow Rd
1.7 mi
14. Continue onto Pounds Hollow Rd
1.4 mi
15. Continue onto Co Rd 9/Karbers Ridge Rd
Continue to follow Karbers Ridge Rd 5.5 mi
16. Turn right at Co Rd 10/Garden of Gods Rd
0.9 mi Garden of Gods
Monroe, IL

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  • Frank C.

    We all had a wonderful time, and Im looking forward to getting back out there, and try some of the other trails! Thanks again everyone for an awesome time!

    May 9, 2010

  • jody

    amazing weather, pretty scenery, and nice people! thanks, frank!

    April 11, 2010

  • Frank C.


    April 10, 2010

  • Frank C.

    Hey gang!

    Terri, Im not sure about trees, I would probably bring a tent. We will see you at the backpackers parking lot:) same with you ashley!

    david, that sounds good to me. Lets all meet at the K-Mart parking lot on Rivergate road at 7am. Then we can hit the road from there. Cant wait for this weekend! The weather still looks good, and it should be sunny and 70s for the high, and a little cool at night, so bring a fleece!

    Hope this works for everyone. Thanks again!


    April 8, 2010

  • TerriK

    Frank, since I am coming from Huntsville AL, I'm going to head out Friday night and stay over at one of the KY State parks. I'll meetup with you at the Hikers parking lot at the Garden of the Gods. I have a weird question. When we stop to camp, will there be trees or will they be scarce? I usually use a hammock but can bring a tent if finding adequate trees might be an issue. Thanks

    April 6, 2010

  • Ashli


    My parents have driven there and parked several times, so I'll ask them what they think about a parking/meeting spot for us.

    As far as mileage goes, what do you have in mind for each day? About what time do you anticipate us returning to the parking area on Sunday?

    FYI, Jenny B and I are staying at my parents' house on Friday night, so we will be driving from there to meet you all instead of caravaning from Nash on Sat.

    April 5, 2010

  • Frank C.

    hey all!

    Put a trail map up, let you check out the elevation changes. Only one or two really rough spots, but otherwise pretty intermediate.

    Where should we meet? We would be heading out I 24. Anybody know a good spot to meet? A parking lot that we could leave cars if necessary? Give me a shout if you know of anywhere.

    There is also an option to just meet at the backpackers parking lot on the map. If you left at seven or so, you would probbly get there about[masked]am.

    April 5, 2010

  • Frank C.

    Leaving early on the 10th, and we can meet and travel convoy style! Ill get the details up asap.

    March 15, 2010

  • Deric B.

    What would be the plans........leave N'ville on 10th AM early or travel there on Friday PM? Travel in a convoy?

    March 8, 2010

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