Garden of the Gods Recreation Area
One of the most photographed locations in the state, Garden of the Gods' scenic beauty is extraordinary. In the recreation area you can hike, camp, nature watch or picnic.
The Observation Trail features unique sandstone rock formations and panoramic views of the surrounding Garden of the God Wilderness. Interpretive signs explain the geological history. The 1/4-mile trail is made of natural sandstone and takes about an hour to walk. It contains short, steep grades and steps; benches are located along the trail and as a whole the trail is not tiring. Caution should be used due to the high cliffs in the area.
At a Glance
|Operational Hours:||Campground is open year-round.
Picnic area and Observation Trail hours of operation - 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
|Reservations:||Campground is first come- first served. No reservations.|
|Area Amenities:||Interpretive Site,Accessible,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking|
|Fees:||Campsite $10/night - 8 people & 2 vehicle max.|
|Permit Info:||No permit required for entering or camping in Garden of the Gods Wilderness.|
|Busiest Season:||April and October & holiday weekends|
|Closest Towns:||Herod, IL 62947|
|Information Center:||Forest Headquarters (618) 253-7114 Additional camping can be found by traveling east on Karbers Ridge Road to Pounds Hollow Campground.|
From Harrisburg: Take Highway 145 south 5 miles, to Highway 34, then take 34 south for 10 miles. Then turn east onto Karbers Ridge Road 2.5 miles to Forest Road. Turn north. Drive 1.5 miles to the recreation area entrance road.
Observation Trail has two large parking lots. Overnight parking is allowed at Backpacker's Parking Lot in the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area and at Hitching Post Trailhead along Gape Hollow Road on the west side of Garden of the Gods Wilderness. No overnight parking is allowed in picnic area or Observation Trail parking lots.
Downloadable Brochues and Maps
Know Before You Go
Additional camping can be found by traveling east on Karbers Ridge Road to Pounds Hollow Campground.
River To River Trail - blue letter i
Hiker-Only Trails include: The Observation Trail, Indian Point Trail, portions of the Anvil Rock Trail, and Trail # 108H.
When venturing into Garden of the Gods wilderness or on extended hikes precautions should be taken: Carry water, food, first-aid kit, etc. Poison ivy & venomous snakes are present in the area.
Be aware cell phone coverage is spotty or non-existent. Expect longer response times by emergency personnel. If you have an emergency and your cell phone is working, call 911.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Big Game Hunting
Small Game Hunting
|Interpretive Site:||signs along observation trail|
|Camping trailer:||pop-up trailers|
|Parking:||see parking info. above|
|Accessible:||campground & vault toilets|
|Drinking water:||in campground only|