Giant City State Park is one of our favorite kid-friendly parks to explore in Illinois. The trails are mostly short, easy, and scenic. The Post Oak Trail is the easiest trail at the park. Recent improvements have made the marked 1/3 mile loop ADA accessible and stroller friendly. You can also venture off the paved path for even better overlooks and blufftop views.
Post Oak Hiking Trail
- Distance: 0.3 mile loop on paved path. Longer if you explore unpaved paths.
- Difficulty: 1/5 for paved trail, 3/5 for unpaved trails
- Scenic Value: 4/5. The paved path is a nice walk in the woods, but the views are better on the unpaved trails.
Reaching the Post Oak Trailhead
The Post Oak Trailhead is located on Giant City Lodge Road, just up the road from the Giant City Lodge. There is a decent sized parking area, picnic table, information sign, and vault toilets located here.
You can start by looping around the pond first or heading down the path past the picnic table and sign to start the paved trail along the bluff line. We began by taking this route. The paved and gravel spur makes a T-intersection with the main concrete trail. The trail heads left towards the restrooms or right to start the loop.
Turning right takes you into the woods along the top of a rugged bluff. There are information signs along the way to immerse you into nature and several new wooden bridges.
There are also overlook platforms, however the view is obscured by trees in the summer months.
Following the Unpaved Post Oak Trail
Near the halfway point of the loop after the path turns away from the bluffs and crosses a bridge, look for a path heading to your left. If you want to see some better overlooks as well as the Devil’s Standtable rock, continue on this unpaved trail across the rock.
There are no signs here, but the path is mostly easy to follow. Keep following along the bluff line for more overlooks and viewpoints. Use caution with kids and pets as there are no railings here.
After a very short distance you will see a large balancing rock. This is known as the Devil’s Standtable. There is even another short and easy trail in the valley down below that allows you to view the rock from the ground level as well as a fun and huge shelter cave.
You can explore as long as you wish along the top of the bluffs before retracing your steps back to the paved trail loop.
Continue the loop to view a small pond and more information signs before returning to the parking area.
Additional Things to Know
- You can find a park map of Giant City here.
- Hiking trail hours are 7 a.m. – dusk.
- The park’s Visitor Center has fun exhibits and information and is open 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. daily.
- The Giant City Lodge is a great spot for a post-hike meal.
- Always be sure to pack out what you bring in and practice Leave No Trace.
More to See
Giant City has so many great trails to explore. A few of our other favorite family hikes here include the Giant City Nature Trail, Indian Creek Trail, and Devil’s Standtable trail. Don’t miss our list of our favorite Shawnee National Forest Hikes if you are looking for more adventure.
When visiting Giant City, a stop at the amazing Boo Castle Playground nearby is a must if hiking with kids!