With its breathtaking natural beauty and unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation, a trip to Giant City State Park near Carbondale is sure to delight visitors of all ages. From camping and horseback riding to fishing and rappelling, it's an outdoor lover's paradise. Visitors will marvel at the many wilderness trails. Especially popular is a hike on Giant City Nature Trail, home of the "Giant City Streets" huge bluffs of sandstone formed 12,000 years ago .
Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest, just minutes south of Carbondale, the Union / Jackson county park was named for the unique impressions made by its massive sandstone structures. Eons of geological faulting and folding have molded a landscape like none other, which is now clothed in lush garments of fern, moss, large flowering mints, hundreds of species of wild flowers and 75-plus varieties of towering trees. The natural splendor of Giant City has made it a renowned retreat that attracts more than 1.2 million visitors annually.
The rustic beauty of the Giant City Lodge creates an atmosphere unparalleled in southern Illinois. Although the lodge has been expanded and remodeled, great care has been taken to preserve the multi-hued sandstone and white oak timbers used in the initial 1930s construction. Many original furnishings and decorations have been restored and are used throughout the lodge.
Three types of cabins are available to accommodate overnight guests. All offer forest views have unique features and have been fully restored. Twelve historic cabins are one-room units; 18 prairie cabins are two-room units; and four bluff cabins, the largest and most scenic, can conveniently house a family of six.
The Bald Knob dining room, with seating for 170, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and has a reputation for excellent food at a reasonable price. It is especially well-known for its family-style, home-fried chicken.
The lodge also features a gift shop, cocktail lounge and bar, an outdoor swimming pool and a children's pool.