Garden of the Gods Wilderness

Camel Rock in Garden of the Gods Wilderness
Camel Rock

Garden of the Gods Wilderness is a 3,953-acre property on Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. This is an area of Illinois just south of where the glaciers stopped during the Laurentide Glaciation (352,0000 to 112,000 years ago). So rather than the landscape being smoothed over (relatively) by all that ice, the landscape shows all the signs of a very long history of water and wind erosion. Eroded rock formations, bluffs, canyons and ridges, Garden of the Gods Wilderness is the most visited wilderness area in Illinois.

The wilderness bounds the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area on the north, west and south. The River to River Trail passes through Garden of the Gods Wilderness and virtually every other trail in the area ties in to it. A lot of folks use one of the 12 campsites at Pharoah Campground (pads, drinking water, pit toilets, $5 per site per night (price subject to change)) and explore the wilderness in the daytime.

Map showing the locations of wilderness areas on Shawnee National Forest
Shawnee National Forest Wilderness Areas
Upper photo courtesy of Daniel Schwen, CCA-by-SA 3.0 License
Map and upper left photo courtesy of the