Garden of The Gods, Illinois

Not a Missouri hike, but had to share some thoughts and information on this fantastic area in Shawnee National Park in Southern Illinois. If you’re in the area or want to see something that will leave you amazed, this is it.
Amazing looking at this and realizing what a minuscule part of evolution humans have had since the beginning of time.  This area was submerged under water 320,000,000 years ago long before the evolution of humans. 
We were there for about 3 hours walking and climbing around from point to point trying to see all the different vistas from different vantage points, trying to get as many photos as possible.  You do have to be cautious as you are doing this at your own risk.  I always knew the southern Illinois was hilly and had forests, but I didn’t realize how large Shawnee National Park is.  You can spend weeks there and not see everything.
A great natural attraction that has no crowds due to its distance from civilization. The trail itself is very short and easy. The real fun is climbing on the large rock outcroppings that are everywhere.
The trail isn’t very hard though. If you decide to climb the rocks that’s another story. That can be easy up to challenging. There are bathrooms (nonflushing outhouses) that are basic clean. No other services were noted. I also recommend making sure you have gas at least 1/2 tank as the way we came stations were few and far between.
To get to this location we needed to drive quite a distance on paved roads and gravel roads through winding roads.  It was a pretty remote location and takes some time to drive there.  We were concerned that we were going the right way, but eventually found it and it was well worth it.  Be prepared for a lot of walking and climbing, bring some water and maybe a snack.

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