Campsite name: Starved Rock State Park Campground, Illinois
Camping type: Frontcountry Camping in a Recreation Area
Campsite opening hours: There are no official opening or closing times.
Booking Link: All sites are first come first served so reservations are not required.
Fees: Each campsite is $10 per night and it includes 8 people and 2 vehicles maximum. There is no permit required for entering or camping in the Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area.
Facilities: The campground at Garden of the Gods is simple and basic. There is water available at the campground and vault toilets are also available.
Limited amenities include picnic tables, vault toilets, drinking water, and interpretive sites.
Camping Month: The busiest months are between April and October. Holiday weekends are also expected to be busy as well. However, the campground is open year-round. The picnic area and trail hours operate between 6 am and 10 pm.
Gear: Tent and trailer camping is recommended. There are no electrical hookups for RVs. Simple camping setups are advised for this campground in Illinois.
Lookout Spot: Camel Rock is one of the most photographed spots in Illinois and once you witness it for yourself it will be easy to understand why. Camel Rock is depicted on the back of a US quarter. You can access this famous lookout spot via the Observation hiking trail which is less than a quarter of a mile long and is a looping trail.
Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the Garden of the Gods recreation area in Illinois. When going out on adventures it is important to always carry water, food and a first aid kit. Cell phone coverage can be very limited and non-existent so being self-sufficient on the trails is important.
Poison ivy and venomous snakes are present in the region. The copperhead snake and the timber rattlesnake are only two examples of venomous snakes that live here and nearby. Watch your step, stay on the trail, give snakes plenty of space, and never try to handle or hurt a snake to avoid having a bad experience with one.
This area does not permit the use of disposable food and drink containers, and offenders risk fines. Please help to maintain the beauty of the forest by not littering. There might not be amenities like bathrooms or garbage pickup at every trailhead in this wilderness area. Pack out what you pack in, and please follow the Leave No Trace philosophy.
The day-use-only parking area offers access to the wilderness from the Anvil Rock area. From here, there are trails for hikers only and hikers and horses. The hiker-only bluff trail offers access to some incredibly fascinating rock formations, including Starry Night and Anvil Rock, and some incredibly beautiful wilderness area viewpoints. There are numerous areas of interest scattered across the region that can be reached via the various horse/hiker shared trails.
Indian Point is a 2-mile circular trail that is well-liked for scattered camping in the backcountry. There are numerous varied rock outcroppings, cave shelters, and picturesque vistas along this hike. If you are interested in backcountry camping in this area please try to reduce your impact on the wilderness. This is possible by camping in areas where signs of previous campers exist.
The Golden Circle Trailhead provides access to a variety of trails used by both hikers and horseback riders. Please keep in mind to yield to riders on horses and speak to them calmly so they don't perceive you as a threat. The wrong approach with an oncoming horse is to remain motionless and say nothing since the horse can interpret this as a threat.
The River to River Trail will take you from the Eagle Creek / Hitching Post trailhead across the street and into the Garden of the Gods Wilderness. You can find some of the most beautiful scenic views and spectacular bluff lines in this region throughout these woods. Please share the trail and yield to horseback riders if you're in this area with other hikers.
Highlight: Observation Trail, This is a quarter-mile-long interpretive trail that leads to a rocky area located on top of the bluffs. The views include those of the Shawnee Hills and Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area. The famous rock formations are the highlight and such structures named Camel Rock, Table Rock and Devil’s Smokestack are all located here.
The trail includes some short, steep sections however the trail as a whole is not tiring. There are high cliffs in this area so be careful when hiking and exploring.
Tips: A 3,318-acre portion of the Shawnee National Forest has been classified as the Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area. Hardin, Pope, Saline, and Gallatin counties in Illinois are home to the Garden of the Gods Wilderness. Equality and Harrisburg are the closest towns to Garden of the Gods Wilderness, each of which has its own attractions. The Garden of the Gods Wilderness is well-known to both horseback riders and hikers.
Second-growth forests that were once agricultural fields and pioneering settlements can be found in the Garden of the Gods Wilderness. In order to contribute to the creation of what is now known as the Shawnee National Forest, these towns and farmers surrendered their land to the federal government in the 1930s.
What this wilderness area has to offer: There are many things to do at Garden of the Gods Wilderness. You can find fascinating bluff lines, natural arches, fantastic outcropping and cave shelters, waterfalls, and some very beautiful waterways by delving into the wilderness area's valleys. For backpackers, thru-hikers, day hikers, and equestrian riders, there are many miles of path. The roads that surround the forest provide several possibilities for sightseeing and taking in the scenery.
This region is made up of steep, rocky terrain, undulating hills, and occasionally exceedingly muddy conditions. This place might be tough to get to and is frequently seen as having a challenging degree of recreation. Please make the necessary preparations before entering this region.
What is nearby: The neighborhood nearest to this wilderness area is Equality, Illinois. You should visit Glen O Jones Lake in Equality if you want to go hiking, fishing, kayaking/canoeing, biking, or camping.
The Outpost is an excellent place to get supplies, food and some of the tastiest ice cream in the region around Garden of the Gods. They even have Bigfoot merchandise if you are a believer.