Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods
Observation Trail

We’re rockin’ and rollin’ here at Rend Lake in Benton, Illinois. Just like George Harrison did when he visited the area in 1963. George visited this area only once, but this is our third trip to the South Marcum Campground at Rend Lake.

We love it here. It’s so peaceful and beautiful. It’s only two hours from home which makes it perfect for our shake down trip to open our 2021 camping season.

Rend Lake is close to the town of Benton, and it offers several options for day trips. In the past, we’ve visited Giant City State Park, Cave-in-Rock State Park, and Cedarhurst Center for the Arts. This time we took a day trip to Garden of the Gods Recreation Area. There we spent the day hiking two trails.

The first trail was Indian Point trail, and it was 1.6 miles long. This took us about one hour and 40 minutes. The second trail was called the Observation Trail. This trail is only 1/4 of a mile. It is paved with flagstones the whole way. While it is short, it will likely take at least 45 minutes to hike it depending on how much time is spent observing the beautiful scenery – and for those brave enough, climbing on all the rocks.

Here’s a few pictures from our hikes.

Garden of the Gods Recreation Area is not a state park, but maybe it should be. The beauty of this place is extraordinary and, in my book, easily rises to the level of state park beauty and beyond. In addition, if Garden of the Gods was a state park perhaps the restrooms, the parking and the trail signage could be improved. Maybe they could also add some picnic tables, as we couldn’t find even one to enjoy our snack between hikes. Despite these “opportunities”; however, the place is very popular and was swarming with people the day we were there.

Four stacks of "When Calls the Heart" DVDs.

On our way “home”, we ate dinner at Logan’s in Marion, Illinois. We were thrilled to be able to get the “early bird” special which is every day from 3 pm to 6 pm. It was delish! And that evening, we dove into the stash of DVDs we got from the library and enjoyed one of our favorite Hallmark shows, “When Calls the Heart.” We live a wild life!

We do have one more day trip that we’d like to take when we visit Rend Lake the next time. We don’t know when that’ll be, but it probably won’t be too long. This place is one of our favorites. Where will we go on our next day trip? Do you think I’m gonna tell you now? Ha ha. I don’t think so! You’ll just have to keep reading this blog to find out!

Rend Lake
Site#84 Covey Point


    • It is a great place! And my guess is you’ll be hiking some new trails before very long at all. And, I look forward to reading about them and seeing the pictures. Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a beautiful place for your first trip out. The pictures are great, thanks for sharing. Enjoy your stay, and yes I’ll continue to follow because I do want to know what other trails you’ll hike and other places you might go. Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I look forward to reading about your travels and adventures as well. I hope you have a great week, too! How could you not with that wonderful water view? ha ha


  2. My family is from that area and as a child we visited those places. Living now in Michigan I doubt I will ever get there again but I loved seeing the pictures and hearing again about the places that make up my childhood memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad my post reminded you of good childhood memories. I have wonderful memories of Michigan and hope to make many more memories there as the years go by. Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw a news story where the first grizzly bear was spotted in Yellowstone this season indicating hibernation is over. It’s time to get out. Good to see you are getting warmed up too.

    We camped at a corp of engineer park on Rend Lake a couple of years ago. I agree it is a beautiful area. George Harrison’s connection to the area was that he visited his sister in 1963 who had recently moved there. They convinced a local radio station to play the first ever Beatles recording in the U.S. and as they say, “the rest is history “. The equipment, desk and microphone where Harrison did the radio station interview is displayed at the Jailhouse Museum in Benton.
    Safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we are finally out and about! I am not sure how long bears hibernate, but we were winterized for 5 months! Isn’t it something about George’s connection to Benton! I did write a couple posts about it when we visited previously. There’s great stuff to see all over this country! Safe travels to you, too! And enjoy your day!


    • Thank you! The quarter mile hike was very scenic. It was also full of opportunities to go off trail just a bit and climb on the rocks. We were a bit tired since we did the longer trail first, so I don’t think we enjoyed it as much as we could have. It is a really cool place. Thanks for reading and your comment. Enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

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