Devils Standtable – Giant City State Park
Devil’s Standtable Trail – Giant City State Park
- by Gary Marks
Look across a topo map of Southern Illinois and you might see a trend in the names of some of our best natural landmarks.
It has always amazed me that places that seem strange and bizarre take on sinister names. Here we have two Devil’s Backbones (one in Grand Tower, one at Bell Smith Springs), one lake (Devil’s Kitchen), and a Devil’s Standtable that lies in the heart of Giant City State Park.
This 1/3 trail is short in length, but packs a punch on scenery. Starting out at an ample parking lot, the trail lies just across the road and ascends to the base of a massive bluff. The trail hugs the bluff and descends slightly to a shallow plunge pool of a usually shy waterfall. Behind this invisbile fall lies one of the great rock shelters of Southern Illinois.
Although not as spectacular as Ferne Clyffe’s Hawks Cave, this shelter is chocked full of rocky slabs that have been relinquished from their temporary home above. This shelters demise is a a rock scramblers playland. Word of caution though, these rocks can be damp and slippery and potentially snaky , so proceed with caution.
If you come after a ground saturating rainfall you may be able to catch a glimpse of the largest waterfall in Giant City. Most times it’s a dry empty expanse, where you have to use your imagination to hear the light thunder of water reverberating off the ancient sandstone.
Standtable Up Above
The trail bends and ascends slightly up. What most people notice first is a huge sign describing the formation of the Devil’s Standtable, but a quick glance upwards usually is enough to break the trance of the man-made sign.
One will notice that the word standtable is maybe not the most appropiate word for this massive structure. Some say it more resembles a vast pulpit where great sermons where once given. Others say it reminds them of a mushroom, having a large stalk with a wide cap on top.
Whatever you say it looks like, all must agree it is an impressive stucture created by differential erosion over a long period of time. Some say it may topple in the next thousand years, so make your plans to see this structure on your next trip to Giant City State Park before it’s gone.
How To Get There
Use the map below to get directions by clicking on the tab and entering your address. The tab is the approximate trailhead location.
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