Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Garden of the Gods

This week, Cee’s ‘alphabet with a twist’ is looking for g words, which is lucky for me since I recently spent some time at a place in southern Illinois called Garden of the Gods, part of Shawnee National Forest.

Most people who have driven through Illinois will tell you that much of the State is rather flat and uninteresting but southern Illinois is anything but that, as we discovered last week.

I was told that Garden of the Gods is one of the most scenic and visited areas in Shawnee National Forest and I could see why.  The views were spectacular!

320 million years ago, a shallow sea covered the land shown in the image below. Rivers deposited sand and mud along the shoreline which gradually hardened to stone.

The textures and colors in the layers of rock were stunning! The red-brown swirls and rings are called liesegang bands and are comprised of sandstone and iron.

The paved Observation Trail that winds through the Garden of the Gods takes you through and past some very interesting rock formations including one named Devil’s Smokestack.


I wouldn’t recommend bringing young children on this particular trail as there are some steep bluffs that drop 100ft down.  I was very cautious while finding a good spot from which to take pictures and I got quite nervous when I saw my husband, who is in charge of the video camera and is just recovering from knee replacement surgery, swiveling about rather close to the edge in order to get some panoramic views.  Good grief!!!

For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter G – Needs to have the letter G (log, goggle, geometry, lodge)

29 thoughts on “Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Garden of the Gods

  1. Beautiful photos. I’m headed down there in a couple weeks for my annual fall outing in the Shawnee Forest. Love the southern parts of Illinois so much. Thanks for sharing this post.

  2. Thank goodness for Google maps to show me where this is! An amazing place with wonderful views. How those trees are growing in those conditions is baffling but beautiful!

    • What would we do without Google maps and the GPS. We used to get lost quite frequently when we went on trips but things are so much easier now. I agree, it’s quite remarkable how things like trees and plants can survive even in the most harsh conditions. I noticed several large vines climbing up the long vertical cracks in the rocks.

  3. What a surprise to discover another Garden of the Gods! I have been in the one in Colorado Springs, but I had to research this one:) Thanks to you I have learned something new today 🙂

    • We only just found out about this place recently. Even after living in Illinois for more than forty years, we apparently still have a lot to learn about the state. We’ll have to check out the one in Colorado Springs if we’re ever in the area. Thanks for the info.

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