Wednesday – May 13, 2015
Giant City State Park
We had a wonderful BBQ lunch at the Memphis BBQ Co. in Horn Lake, Mississippi and departed the restaurant at 1:40 p.m. We arrived at the Giant City State Park in Makanda, Illinois at 5:35 p.m.
Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest, just minutes south of Carbondale, Illinois, Giant City State Park was named for the unique impressions made by 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.
Shelter bluffs, or rock shelters, worn into the sides of the cliffs have revealed evidence of human habitation in this region from as early as 10,000 years ago, and the blackened ceilings caused by their fires remain visible today. On an 80-foot sandstone cliff near the main entrance, one can see the remains of a Native American stone wall erected between A.D. 600-800.
The first European settlers moved into the area from Kentucky and Tennessee in the early 1800s, and by 1850, settlers were using the land to cultivate fruit trees. During the Civil War, many of the cliffs and canyons were used as havens by soldiers of both the Union and Confederate armies.
In 1927, the state of Illinois acquired more than 1,100 acres of land in Union and Jackson counties and dedicated the area as Giant City State Park. In 1936, the Civilian Conservation Corps completed construction of a lodge and 12 overnight cabins on the highest point in the park. Today, the park has grown to encompass 4,000 acres of spectacular countryside plus the 110-acre Fern Rocks Nature Preserve.
The campground has 99 campsites, some with 30/50 amp electric only sites, some with 30/50 amp electric and water hookups. There is one restroom facility with flush toilets and free showers. There is one dump station.
Since the campground is located within a dense forest, campers with satellite television service may find it difficult to locate satellites through the abundance of trees. We have Dish satellite service and our antenna could not locate the satellites.
Campground: Giant City State Park
Camping Fee: $15.00 (with Illinois senior discount)
Cellular Service: T-Mobile – E, 2-bars with signal booster.
Satellite Television Service: Trees in campground are too dense for antenna to locate satellites.
Total miles traveled today from Horn Lake, Mississippi: 222
North on Interstate 55
North on Interstate 57
North on U.S. Highway 51
East on Giant City Park Road to State Park
Tomorrow another adventure begins.