Breathtaking natural beauty is on display year round at the 4000 acre Giant City State Park in Makanda, Illinois. Featuring incredible woodlands and sheer sandstone walls, the park is an absolute dream for RVers who like a recreational challenge. Found within the Shawnee National Forest, Giant City State Park was formed in 1927 and named after the unique impressions made by its massive sandstone structures. It has a landscape like none other, with the park featuring lush ferns, flowering mints, hundreds of species of wild flowers and more than 75 varieties of towering trees.
The sandstone walls found within the park are absolutely perfect for rock climbing, rappelling and hiking. Outdoor lovers can also ride on horseback, explore a lookout tower, and take a dip in the swimming pool during summer. Sick of cooking in the RV? Treat yourself to a meal at the historic Giant City Lodge, known for its homemade fried chicken dinner.
Giant City State also features a National Natural Landmark. The Giant City Stone Fort Site is a prehistoric stone fort located within the park that dates to the Late Woodland Area. It was constructed and used in the period from 600-900AD and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The campground is large and full of back-in sites, so if you are travelling with a large RV rig there won't be a problem fitting into a spot. There are seven water stations, three toilet blocks and all sites also come with 30amp electrical hookup.
RV Rentals in Giant City State Park
Transportation in Giant City State Park
Coming from the north, take Interstate 57 South to the Route 13 exit. Head west (right) on Route 13 toward Carbondale for approximately 15 miles. Look for Wal-Mart on your right. Turn left at this light (Giant City Road). Continue 12 miles to south and Giant City Road will lead you into the park.
From the south, follow I-24 to I-57 North, or stay on I-57, to the Route 148 exit, head northwest on 148 for approximately 2 miles. Turn left on Grassy Road and follow Grassy Road for 5-7 miles. Grassy Road will come to a T at Giant City Road. Turn south on Giant City Road. Continue approximately 4 miles and you will arrive at the park.
From the east, head west on I-70. Continue approximately 50 miles south from I-64 to the Route 13 exit and then head west on Route 13 toward Carbondale for approximately 15 miles. Look for the Wal-Mart on your right and Turn left at this light on to Giant City Road. Continue 12 miles to the south.
From the west: Head east on I-64 for approximately 50 miles. Take Route 127 exit south. Continue south for approximately 50 miles to Murphysboro. At Murphysboro, go left for approximately 10 miles. You will pass through the town of Carbondale. Look for the Wal-Mart on your left and turn right at this light on to Giant City Road. Continue 12 miles to the south.
The parking lot at Giant City State Park is located at the Visitors Center.
Campgrounds and parking in Giant City State Park
Campsites in Giant City State Park
Giant City Campgrounds
Giant City is a very popular weekend retreat because of its varied and well-kept campground facilities. In total, there are 85 campsites in the Class A Campground which provides water, electricity, showers and sanitary facilities for tent and trailer camping. For the RV lovers, there are gravelled back-in and pull-thru sites with 30 amp electric circuits. At each arm of the campground loop there is also a fire pit, picnic table, dump station
and scattered pit toilets. There is also a centrally located shower house with flush toilets, a playground and picnic shelter. The max size limit is 40 feet and no bicycles are allowed on the trails.
There is spotty mobile reception throughout the campground, but there are facilities such as a grocery store, emergency services and gas station all within 10 miles of the park entrance. You must make your reservation at least three days ahead of arrival, and we recommend choosing either site 007 or 008 if you want to be the most centrally located to a toilet block and showers.
Seasonal activities in Giant City State Park
Giant City State Park is the home of progressive rock climbing in Illinois. Within the park there are two main areas for climbing, known as Shelter 1 Bluff and the Devil's Standtable Area. A trail behind the picnic shelter takes you to a set of steep bluffs known as Shelter 1. This bluff is mostly a sport and traditional climbing area with the routes ranging 5.6 - 5.12. This area is great for short training sessions in preparation for other big areas. Devil's Standtable is a steep section of sandstone cliffs. There are no fixed anchors at both Devil's Standtable and Shelter 1, so bring a static line to tie off to trees on top of the bluff since no permanent anchors are allowed. Ropes are permitted in both areas.
Open during peak season at Giant City State Park, the archery range is a very popular activity for the young and the old. Whether you are a seasoned veteran of the bow and arrow or a beginner, the range is a great way to spend the afternoon. Remember when collecting your arrows to always leave your bow at the shooting line and that you must accompany anyone under the age of 18 at all times when at the range.
For the equestrian rider, the park has two options. There is a 12 mile trail that can be accessed by those bringing their own horses from the Equestrian Campground trailhead, located on the south end of the park. Day riders may park their trailers at the rear of the campground and then access the equestrian trail. If you don't have a horse, the park offers guided rides at Giant City Stables, located at the north end of the park. Along with the trail rides, Giant City Stables offer summer camps, lessons and equine therapy. The stables are open from March to October - a little longer than the normal park season.
A highlight of Giant City State Park is the Visitor Center. The center provides interesting displays on the geology, plants, and animals of the park. There are multiple 10 minute films about the park and the Civilian Conservation Corp in the audio-visual room. Depending on the time of year, you may also get to see displays from local artists. Past displays have included paints, photography, quilts and carvings. The visitor center also offers information about other tourist destinations in southern Illinois, which may be helpful to you on your journeys.
There are 2,800 acres of hunt-able land within Giant City State Park, including 180 open, cultivated or fallowed fields. The park allows you to bring in portable stands if you are hunting for deer, but remember that all hunters must sign in and out and report their harvest each day at the registration boxes. If deer isn't your fancy, squirrel, quail and rabbit hunting is also permitted at the park. Check in at the visitors center before you start your hunt to make sure there are no other rules or regulations that you need to follow on your trip.
There are eight hiking trails within Giant City State Park that are vary in length and difficulty. These trails are open from dawn to dusk year round, so if you are in Giant City State Park from December to March, going for a hike is a great choice when other activities have shut down. If you are looking for a short hike, go for the Giant City Nature Trail. At one mile long, the trail will take you around sandstone bluffs and through the historic “streets” of the park. For the more adventurous, the 12 mile Red Cedar Trail will take you on a rugged trip through forests, over creeks, and around cliffs.