Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hiking the Lists #4: Garden of the Gods Observation Trail

Hike: #4
Title: Observation Trail
Location: Garden of the Gods Recreation Area
Hike list: Illinois
Difficulty: Mostly Easy (a few uphills and downhills, and some awkward rock steps)
Duration of Hike: A short walk amongst interesting rock formations

Between the 320 million year old rock formations, and the panoramic views of sizable hills, Garden of the Gods feels hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from the flat prairies and fields that cover most of the state. Although short, the quarter mile loop is a good workout with plenty of odd looking rocks and scenic vistas.

Because much of the path is stone, it can get slippery when wet. The most recent time I visited here* parts of the walk way were slippery, but nothing too hard to deal with. After a short uphill climb (or a longer one, if you go clockwise from the parking lot), you come to the rock formations. These sit high above the valley below, so mind your step. Plenty of the boulders and rocks can be accessed without equipment, so if you are looking for a chance to do some boulder hopping, this is a good place to do that. 

Many of the rock formations have names, which I did not write down at the time I walked it. I recommend that if you are looking for a weekend trip from St. Louis or Chicago, or are traveling through Shawnee National Forest and are looking for something to do, to make time for Garden of the Gods. There's a campground nearby, and many other trails in the area if you are looking for a longer, more challenging hike. 

*The only time I've visited as an adult.

No comments :

Post a Comment