Garden Of The God, Illinois Day Trip- Hiking with Dogs

We took a day trip to a place call Garden of the Gods. This GOTG is in Illinois. There is one in Colorado but this one was much closer to us. We got ready the night before so we could head out early to get to our destination. 
Scooby and I have never been hiking so we didn't know what to expect. 

Scooby was excited that he would get to wear his backpack. He would carry his poop bags and treats. Those were the 2 things he thought he needed. He wanted Ma to leave out the poop bags and add more treats but she said no.
ScoobyDoo,#chihuahua, modeling back pack photo
Scooby say "Cheese" look

We got up extra early so we could head out. By extra early, I mean 6:00 am. It's summertime so that is early by Sarah's standards. We were on the road by 7 AM. We were finally going hiking! 30 minutes into our travels across Ky, Scooby started whining. He had to pee. We finally stopped to pee and it was a quick out-in and off we went again. 

Ma was looking around at the roads and made the comment "you would think there would be a Hardee's or McDonald's around here" which cued Scooby to whine again. Dad found a McDonalds and went through drive-thru. Everyone got something to eat. That settled Scooby down and he didn't whine again the whole way there. 

Road in KY going through trees- CarmaPoodale
Ky roads
There were no signs telling us if we were indeed headed the right direction. We were relying on our GPS. We finally saw a sign that pointed to Garden of the Gods, it was hiding in those huge hills up ahead
road view of driving through mountains #CarmaPoodale
Those mountains hide the gardens 

We arrived at our destination. 

#CarmaPoodale, #Poodle sitting in front of Garden of the Gods sign
We are in the Shawnee National Forest
Garden of the Gods is in Southern Illinois. It was created over 320 million years ago. It covers over 3,000 acres. Millions of years ago Ky, Ill. and Ind. were all covered by a giant inland sea. Over the years the sea headed south and carved out beautiful rock formations out of sandstone. There were earthquakes and other types of natural occurrences that happened and it pushed the area up towards the sky. Millions of years of wind, rain, and earthquakes carved out the sandstone in what we see today.

We headed to the Observation trail to start. It's a very easy trail that leads to some spectacular views of the forest. These are a few of the photos we took. 
paved path at #GardenoftheGods, leads you through the trails. Photo by CarmaPoodale

poodle walking the trail at #GardenoftheGods

#carmapoodale walking the paved trail at #GardneoftheGods

#poodle and #Chihuahua walking on paved path #carmapoodale

View of the paved trail going through #GardenoftheGods in #ShawneeIllinois National forest

The trail has many benches to sit and rest. There are bathrooms at the beginning and end of the trail. 

When we got to the top of the trails the views were breathtaking. The rock formations are interesting to look at with their water lines, holes in the stones and a few of the spots look like dinosaur footprints. 
Dinosaur print, plaque explaining the ancient see and view from the trail

Scooby, chihuahua looking down in a hole that would make a good water bowl. #CarmaPoodale
This would make an excellent water bowl!

The trees grow through the rock in strange formation #carmapoodale
Trees grow in weird ways through the stone

Tree roots grow along the top of the rock at the #ShawneeNationalForest #GardenoftheGods

The different shapes the wind and rain have created show the forces that nature can have. It's simply amazing. 

The rocks can end quickly with 100 foot dropoffs. #CarmaPoodale

Rock formation called #CamelRock. It does look like a camel #CarmaPoodale

View of the roots of the trees growing on top of the rock- #Carmapoodale

Landscape view of the rock formations. The view doesn't show how deep it is #CarmaPoodale

The head of Camel Rock looks like a camel. Amazing that wind and water did that- #carmapoodale
Looks like an alien head. 

Nature's art. Rock Balancing on a small stem of river rock #carmaPoodale
amazing what wind and rain can form

a view from the valley at #GardenoftheGods in the #ShawneeNationalForest #carmapoodale

iron deposits in the rock forms beautiful #Naturesart #carmapoodale
Iron deposits in the rock
#Devilssmokestack formation is a main attraction at #GardoftheGods #carmapoodale

Man hiding behind tiny tree with stone background #Carmapoodale
We think we spotted Bigfoot. BOL!

There are parts of the trail that cut through the rock. 

Parts of the trail goes through narrow rock #CarmaPoodale

Two people  with a #Chihuahua and a #poodle posing for photos #Carmapoodale

Narrow trails made by water #CarmaPoodale
Sarah strikes a pose

It's cool to get to the top of the rock and look over the edge. 

#Chihuahua and #Poodle Standing on the rock looking over the edge #CarmaPoodale

Standing on the edge of a rock looking over the #shawneeNationalForest #CarmaPoodale

 In May 2014 a 12 yr old girl lost her life when she fell 100 ft. Even with the paths and such, you still need to take precautions when walking them. There have been a couple other deaths since then.

We finished our walk and we headed out. Down the road we seen a neat looking rock formation and dad spotted a tiny turtle trying to get across the road. We stopped and Sarah assisted the turtle to get across the road. 
saving baby turtles is Sarah Eli's job -@CarmaPoodale

We got to explore some of the cave that had a natural skylight. We took the opportunity to take more photos. 
#Chihuahua and #Poodle jumping over trees. #CarmaPoodale
We are the mighty hikers

#Eli and family on rock formations of #GardenoftheGods- #CarmaPoodale

Scooby Doo, #Chihuahua and #CarmaPoodale, #poodle modeling on the rock formations
We are camera hounds
That wraps up our trip to the Illinois Gardens of the Gods. You can find out more information by visiting the Shawnee Forest visitors site. We highly recommend you going. 

The trails are dog-friendly but please be respectful and pick up after your dogs if they go to the bathroom. 

Thank you for reading and hope you join us on our next adventure!

Oh, one more photo. This is ma acting all big and brave because she walked the trail. BOL! 
Bunny acting like she climbed to the top of the world- #CarmaPoodale


  1. What a wonderful trail ! Mom would love to do it ! The landscape and your pictures are gorgeous ! We love your last picture, Carma, you have a big smile on your face ! Purrs

    1. Thank you for visiting. This place was so pretty. We would love to go back and explore more.
      Have a pawtastic day!!

  2. What an amazing place. It looks like some giant bonzai-garden with bonzai-trees :-)

    1. Some of the trees were bonsais. It was so amazing to see how they had their roots growing through the rock and no where near dirt. Nature is so beautiful to us.
      Thank you for stopping by.

  3. What a beautiful trail! Mauja and Atka would love to have a 'water bowl' that large ;)

    1. I would have loved to have a water bowl like that. It was hard to imagine the sea there. Nature is a wonderful thing

  4. Looks like a super fun family adventure! I'm amazed, is the entire trail done with those rock slabs? Looks so fancy. It is always fun to visit new spots. Thanks for joining the FitDog Friday blog hop!

    1. We were amazed at the trail too. There was a sign that told about how the rocks that were used had came from the park itself and how long it took to construct the trail but I failed to get a photo of it. We hope to get back there this fall to do the other trails that goes in the canyon.
      Thank you for stopping by

  5. What a great hike - thanks for sharing it with us Carma. Those rock formations sure are interesting aren't they? Glad Scooby didn't fall into that water bowl! Thanks for joining the Hop.

  6. Wow, I never heard of a Garden of the Gods in Illinois. Beautiful!

  7. Where did you acquire Scooby's backpack? I was curious if they made one out there for our tiny buddies too, I have a very lean 7 pound Chihuahua/Min Pin mix girl.

    1. We found the backpack he is wearing at a yard sale a couple of years ago. He loves to wear it on our hikes.
      For Christmas this year he did get a new one. We found it at TJ Maxx. It covers more of his body which is good because if we are going through sticks, they are less likely to scratch him.
      I have also seen them at PetSmart. PetSmart started carrying more of a selection of active wear for small dogs. They even have BOOTS!

      Thank you for stopping by and reading my review.


We love to hear from you.