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Location: At Giant City State Park, SE of Carbondale on S 51. (recertified 1993)
Driving Directions (general directions to the park from the Giant City State Park website):
From the north:
Take Interstate 57 South to the Route 13 exit (Carbondale - Exit #54B), head west (right) on Rt. 13 toward Carbondale, go approximately 15 miles. Look for Wal-Mart on your right. Turn left at this light (Giant City Road). Continue 12 miles to the south. Giant City Road will lead you into the park.
From the south:
Follow I-24 to I-57 North, or stay on I-57, to the Rt. 148 exit (Exit #45), head northwest on 148 for approximately 2 miles. Turn left on Grassy Road. There is a convenience store on this corner. Follow Grassy Road for 5-7 miles. Stay left when you come to a Y. Continue southwest on Grassy Road. Grassy Road will come to a T at Giant City Road. Turn south (left) on Giant City Road. Continue approximately 4 miles to the park.
From the east:
Head west on I-70 or, if you are further south, take I-64 to I-57 South. Continue approximately 50 miles south from I-64 to the Route 13 exit (Marion - Exit #54B), head west on Rt. 13 toward Carbondale, go approximately 15 miles. Look for Wal-Mart on your right. Turn left at this light (Giant City Road). Continue 12 miles to the south. Giant City Road will lead you into the park.
From the west:
Head east on I-64 approximately 50 miles from St. Louis. Take the Rt. 127 (Nashville) exit south. Continue south for approximately 50 miles to Murphysboro. At Murphysboro, go left or east for approximately 10 miles. You will pass through the town of Carbondale. Watch for the mall on your right. When you see Wal-Mart on your left, this is your light. Take a right here on Giant City Road heading south for 12 miles into the park.
Trailhead and parking directions: Parking and trail access is located near the walk-in tent camping area at Giant City Campground. Drive into the main campground and follow the signs to the tent camping area. No parking pass is required, but day hikers can alert the visitor center and/or leave a note in their dashboard with trip plans for safety reasons. Overnight camping at the Red Cedar Campground backpacking site located on the trail requires a permit, which can be obtained at the visitor center or at the campground self-registration station. No camping is allowed at any other locations along the trail.
This trail was traveled by a
NRT Ambassador on 11/09/2019.
You’ll experience a little of everything Giant City has to offer on this trail, including oak-hickory forests, rocky creeks, and sandstone bluffs and shelters. No water is available, so please carry enough to meet your needs for a long way. Although there are creeks crossed on this hike, most of them are intermittent or running only during or after storm events. A primitive tent camping area at 6 miles provides fire grills, picnic tables, and privies. Please stop at the Visitors Center to get a camping permit. This trail is closed during shotgun deer season.
Primary Surface: Soil
Secondary Surface: Gravel
Maximum Grade: 66%
Elevation Low Point: 400
Elevation High Point: 778
Elevation Gain (cumulative): 2,397 feet
Year Designated: 1981
Supporting Webpages and DocumentsBrochure: Brochure
Website: Giant City State Park
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
Giant City State Park
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
235 Giant City Road
Makanda, IL 62958
NRT Ambassador Review
The Red Cedar Hiking Trail is an approximately 11.2-mile loop trail that provides a more primitive, backcountry experience in Giant City State Park. Parking and access to the trail is located at the walk-in tent camping area of the developed Giant City Campground. No parking pass is required, but hikers can alert the visitor center or leave a note on their dashboards with travel plans for safety reasons. The trail passes through the Red Cedar Campground site at approximately 5.5 miles in when traveling counterclockwise from the trailhead. This is a group campsite with fire pits, picnic tables and privies, which would be ideal for scouting or other backpacking groups. A permit is required to camp here, and no other camping is allowed along the trail. Overall, this trail frequently overlaps with road beds, a horse trail and the long-distance River-to-River hiking trail and there was at least one observed re-route being planned, so diligently following the trail blazes (white diamonds with red dots) is a must. Be sure to check in with the visitor center for any other trail updates or seasonal closures. Please remember to leave no trace while out on the trail.
December 10, 2019
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