Garden of the Gods – Shawnee National Forest


The Shawnee landscape took millions of years to form the Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois. Long ago most of Illinois, western Indiana and western Kentucky were covered by a giant inland sea.ย Millions of years ago, great rivers carried sand and mud to this inland sea where it settled along the shoreline. Over time, the enormous weight of the sediments turned them into layers of rock, thousands of feet thick. At the Garden of the Gods, the sediment layers averaged over 20,000 feet thick or about 4 miles deep.

Ultimately, a great uplift occurred raising the inland sea above sea level causing it to fill in with sand and mud. The uplift also fissured the bedrock uncovering it to erosion including windblown sand, rain, freezing-thaw actions, which wore down the layers of sediment creating the stunning rock formations at Garden of the Gods.


This place was so beautiful with its large boulders that looked like rock stacked art. You can also learn about what happens when an unstoppable object meets an unmovable object..



They call the tall stack to the left ‘Devil’s Smokestack’. To help with scale, there is a human on the top of the ridge to the top right.


The colors are magnificent! So many minerals, so much mixing. Looks like nail art to me! ๐Ÿ˜‰


I love these steps.




ยฉ Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

18 thoughts on “Garden of the Gods – Shawnee National Forest

  1. Boy, you won’t let me get in front will you. I just posted a cave story and now I’ll have to stay up all night to do a mountain climbing post. I am quite scared of heights but when I had to take some kids abseiling I had to overcome and I became quite a fan. Until I got to be old. It looks magic there. You don’t need the Alps or the Rockies to get fantastic scenery like that.


    • HaHa!! Do you really want to be in front of me on a cliff? Evil laugh! >=-)
      Nah, I wouldn’t do anything evil to my bestest blogging buddy!
      I don’t like heights either, hence you see all the photos of my hubby up top of things.
      It was quite beautiful!!


  2. Who thought there would be a “Garden of the Gods” in Illinois and beautiful to boot? Although I’ll admit, I’m still partial to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Love the colours of that rock! I agree it looks like art. Coincidentally, I just wrote my post about coloured sandstone art. Magnificent rock patterns and shapes. Great pics. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Pingback: Garden of the Gods – Colorado Springs | Midwestern Plants

  5. Pingback: Phavorite Photos from 2015 – Part 2 | Midwestern Plants

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