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Two people climbing on rocks in front of a rock waterfall

State Parks & Illinois' National Forest

With dozens of state parks and a lush national forest, Illinois is an outdoors dream. Explore hiking and biking trails, kayak along the rivers, or stay in a secluded forest cabin.

Hiker on the Garden of the Gods Camel Rock looking over the forest.

Shawnee National Forest & Garden of the Gods

Must-see Natural Wonders of the Midwest

Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois is home to an incredible range of outdoor adventures and the breathtaking Garden of the Gods. For an unforgettable escape into nature, look no further.

Top Parks & Forests to Explore

Two girls walk in front of a waterfall at Matthiessen State Park

Matthiessen State Park

Explore glorious wooded canyons eroded by water into intricate designs and laced with spectacular waterfalls. Hike, bike or horse ride magnificent trails that will satisfy any sense of adventure.

Matthiessen State Park Matthiessen State Park

Buffalo Rock State Park

This park is the smaller of the Starved Rock, Matthiessen, and Buffalo Rock trio of State Parks that brings visitors to LaSalle County. A perfect family picnic stop and a beautiful place to stretch your legs.

Buffalo Rock State Park Buffalo Rock State Park
A man stands between two rockfaces

Starved Rock State Park

Only 1.5 hours from Chicago you'll find hiking trails through towering trees, scenic overlooks and beautiful rock formations. You can also canoe, paddle-boat or cross-country ski during the snowy months.

Discover Starved Rock State Park Discover Starved Rock State Park
Forest with mossy rocks.

Giant City State Park

While the whole of Shawnee National Forest is a must-visit for any outdoor enthusiast, there are some areas that stand out as particular highlights. One of those is Giant City State Park in Makanda, near Carbondale.

Giant City State Park Giant City State Park

State Park Adventures

State Parks and Wildlife, Conservation & Recreation Areas

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