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Written DirectionsStarting in Marion Illinois, go east on Rt 13 to Harrisburg. Go south on Rt 34 in H'burg to Karbers Ridge Rd (AKA Rt 4) which is a little south of Herod. Head east on Karber Ridge Rd for 2.5 miles and take a left on Rt 10 and in about a mile you will come to the Garden of the Gods turn off on the left. Go north to the Garden of the Gods for some great scenery. After you are done checking out the Garden of the Gods, head back down to Karber Ridge Road and go east to Rt 1. Take a right (go South) on Rt 1 down to Rt 146. Take a right (head West) on 146 to Elizabethtown (here's where you can get the all you can eat fish I mention above in Amenities). Continue West on Rt 146 through Golconda, Vienna (stop at the Chocolate shop across from the women's correctional center before getting to Vienna), and to old Rt 51 on the west side of Anna. (New Rt 51 is on the east side...don't turn there...go through town and follow signs to Cobden. North on Rt 51 to Makananda turn off. Take Makanda turn off and follow road signs into Giant City State park. Tour the park and look for "Giant City Road" and when you're down in the park, take that road north up to Carbondale. "Giant City Rd" will T at Rt 13 which you can then take east to complete your loop and end up where you started at Marion, IL.
SceneryThis trip takes you through the southern part of Illinois. A stop at Garden of the Gods south of Harrisburg then down to Elizabethtown on the Ohio River. From the extreme south east side of the state you head west nearly to the Mississippi. Heading north from Anna on old Rte 51 through Cobden and Carbondale then finishing with a tour through Giant City State park before ending in Marion.
Drive EnjoymentRoad quality except for the short stretch of old state rte 51 from Anna to Makanda is very good. Hills, curves, and smooth surfaces all the way.
Tourism OpportunitiesStops at Garden of the Gods, Ohio River, and touring through Giant City State park makes for an enjoyable trip. There are a number of wineries in the Alto Pass/Makanda area of the Shawnee National forest too. Also when you make it down to Elizabethtown, you can have lunch; all you can eat fish at the Floating Resturant on the Ohio River. Great people work there and it was some of the best fish I've ever had! Also, on your way through Cobden there's a small Mexican food store and shop. Homemade tamales were pretty good...I even got a dozen to go and they seem to freeze fine. For a winery diversion, after crossing tracks in Makanda, take road straigh up the hill passing the church and look for winery direction signs. We stopped at Blu Sky Winery...quite an operation and facility in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. There are other wineries in the area as well.
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