Hikes,  Illinois,  Kids

Giant City State Park – Devil’s Standtable and Indian Creek Nature Trails

Giant City State Park is one of the best state parks in all of Illinois. The park is filled with huge and rugged rock formations. All of the trails have something to offer, but two of the shortest and most kid-friendly trails at the park are the Devil’s Standtable Trail and the Indian Creek Shelter Nature Trail.

Devil’s Standtable Trail

  • Distance: 0.25 mile loop
  • Difficulty: 2/5. Short and very mild inclines.
  • Scenic Value: 4/5. While the standtable is interesting, the huge rock shelter cave is the real treat.

The Devil’s Standtable Trail is located just down the road from the popular Giant City Nature Trail. The trail is actually located on the other side of the road from the parking area and forms more of a horseshoe shape than a full loop. Use caution when crossing the road both entering and exiting the trail. We usually start on the left side of the parking area and hike clockwise.

The trail heads away from the road and then parallels the towering bluffs. We have seen rock climbers scaling the bluffs here before.

A bridge crosses a small stream near the bluffs. After a good rain, a waterfall trickles down from the bluffs high above. In winter, this waterfall can freeze into a giant icicle. This is a lovely spot no matter which season you hike.

The best part of the trail is just beyond the bridge where a giant cave shelter opens up. This is a great place to explore. There are huge rocks to climb on here as well.

After exploring the shelter bluff, the trail continues until it reaches a large brown sign. The Devil’s Standtable is the rock that appears to balance on a small stand of rock high up on the bluffs. You can continue past the sign in order to get a closer look. Return to the sign and follow the path back to the road and parking area. If you wish to see the Devil’s Standtable from above, the Post Oak Trail at the park explores the area above the bluffs.

Devil’s Standtable is partially hidden behind the redbud tree in the upper center of photo.

Indian Creek Shelter Nature Trail

  • Distance: 0.75 mile loop
  • Difficulty: 2/5. Short and mild inclines.
  • Scenic Value: 4/5. Some interesting rock shelters to view, spring wildflowers, and a small creek.

The Indian Creek Shelter Trail provides an example of the shelter bluffs used by Native Americans in the area. The shelter is not huge, but it provided shelter from the wind and elements.

The parking area here is small with only room for about 5 or 6 cars. The trail makes a short loop that can be traveled in either direction.

No matter which way your do the loop, you will cross the creek twice on wooden bridges. The creek is shallow and great for kids to play.

The trail then approaches the bluff. Small wet weather waterfalls can be found in several places along the bluffs. This makes a fun place to explore as there are ledges to climb and interesting formations.

This shelter bluff is not as impressive as the one at Devil’s Standtable but it is still a nice little hike. The loop continues around to cross a bridge one more time before returning to the parking area.

While at Giant City don’t miss stopping at the lodge. This CCC era structure has small gift shop and delicious restaurant. The restaurant is well known for their fried chicken dinners.

Behind the lodge you can find the Giant City water tower. Climb the stairs to the top for a great view.

Additional Things to Know:

  • You can print a map of the park here
  • Park hours are 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily
  • The park offers camping as well as several types of cabins for an overnight stay.
  • Kids will love a stop at Boo Castle playground while in the area. Just a 10 minute drive from Giant City, this castle themed playground is amazing.

Happy Hiking!

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