Garden of the Gods 

Garden of the Gods in Pictures

 Garden Of the Gods Overview

The Shawnee Hills took millions of years to form the Garden of the Gods in Illinois. The rock formations and cliffs at Garden of the Gods are made of sandstone and are about 320 million years old. Long ago most of Illinois, western Indiana and western Kentucky were covered by a giant inland sea.

  For millions of years great rivers carried sand and mud to the sea, where it settled along the shoreline. Over time, the weight of the sediments turned them into layers of rock thousands of feet thick. At Garden of the Gods the sediment layers were over 20,000 feet thick or about 4 miles deep.

  Eventually, a great uplift occurred, raising the inland sea above sea level causing it to fill in with sand and mud. The uplift also fractured the bedrock exposing it to natures erosive forces. Since that time, windblown sand, rain and freezing and thawing actions have worn down the layers of sediment creating the beautiful rock formations at Garden of the Gods. 


To find out more read the signs along the Observation Trail.Garden of the Gods has a Observation Trail, Pharaoh Campground and a picnic area. Observation Trail is a 1/4-mile flagstone loop walk containing unique sandstone rock formations and panoramic views of the surrounding Garden of the Gods Wilderness area. Interpretive signs explain the geological history.  There are Wooden and rock steps at midpoint in the trail.

  The River to River trail crosses the camping area and interpretive trail. there is also a Backpackers parking area for people starting there hiking adventure at Garden of the gods.


Current Conditions: All areas are open
Operational Hours: Garden of the Gods Observation Trail is open All Year 6a.m. - 10:00p.m.

Other areas are open All Year

Fees Pharaoh Campground fee $10
Open Season: January - December
Water: Observation Trail & Pharaoh Campground have Drinking Water
Restroom: All areas have Vault
Information Center: Surrounding Area Pounds Hollow Recreation Area, Rim Rock National Recreation Trail, River to River Trail, High Knob Picnic Area, Illinois Iron Furnaceand Ohio River National Scenic Byway. 
Scenic  view from Garden of the Gods

General Information

Garden of the Gods

Trail Map
From Harrisburg, take Highway 145 south 5 miles to Highway 34, turn south. Take 34 south for 5 miles, then east on Karbers Ridge Road 2.5 miles to Garden of the Gods Road. Turn north onto Garden of the Gods Road. 1.5 miles to recreation area entrance road. There are directional signs from Harrisburg to the recreation area.

Trail Markings:

 River To River Trail - blue i
Hiker/Equestrian Trail - white diamond
Hiker-Only Trail - blue diamond

Garden of the Gods in Illinois is one of the Most scenic areas in the Shawnee National Forest .Do not miss a visit to this Majestic Wilderness Area .

Remember to Leave No Trace