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Herod, Illinois

Hike the Garden of the Gods Observation Trail

1 Miles Total - Loop Trail

Originally added by Sunshine LeMontree

Just 5 hours south of Chicago, explore a unique wilderness area characterized by fantastic rock formations, gorgeous forests, rivers and canyons.

In the southernmost part of Illinois, Shawnee National Forest is a wonderful natural area that transports you far from the flat agricultural landscape typical of so much of the Midwest. Located in the central area of the forest, Garden of the Gods is a 3,318-acre wilderness area characterized by unique rock formations, deep layers of forest, amazing views and fantastic hikes along rivers and through canyons. To gain your bearings, take the short Garden of the Gods Observation Trail. It's a quarter mile loop walk, paved with flagstones for easy accessibility, but it provides wonderful photo opportunities along the cliffs. Afterward, venture into the Garden of Gods Wilderness Area to explore. An all-year campground is located nearby, but camping is available for free throughout the wilderness area.

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking


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Overall rating: 


The observation trail was an easy hike, and the view was more than rewarding. Even in the rain, it was great.


Really beautiful and so close to home.

Don't miss the sunset!

This is the best spot in Southern Illinois to watch the sunset, hands down. The drive from the parking lot is still safe after dark, so no worries!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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