Looking to get outdoors and explore? You’re in luck – Southern Illinois is home to an abundance of green spaces!
Outside Carbondale lies the Shawnee National Forest, home of the Garden of the Gods, as well as many State Parks such as Giant City. You’ll find green spaces within the city too, from Green Earth Nature Preserves like Chautauqua Bottoms to Carbondale Parks like the Marberry Arboretum.
See below for a growing gallery of outdoors resources, from maps to safety to species ID.

    Green Earth Nature Preserves
    Green Earth operates 6 nature preserves in the Carbondale area, totaling over 220 acres. Each site is open to the public for hiking during daylight hours; most trails are about a mile in length & easy-to-moderate in difficulty.
    The Carbondale Parks District manages parks and other facilities in the city, including Marberry Arboretum, home to more than 100 genera, 600 species, 20,000 plants, & 25 acres of paths.
    IDNR's regional map includes links to info and resources for all State Parks & Areas in Southern Illinois.
    USDA's Shawnee National Forest resource guide provides brochures and a general map including roads, land ownership, and locations of main recreation sites.
    To get the most out of the Shawnee, you need to be prepared - visit this USDA guide for resources and alerts.
    ISNP's recommended resources for plant identification in Illinois and surrounding regions; includes links to iNaturalist's website and ID apps.
    IDNR’s Wildlife Identification database. Includes mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and animal signs.
    Helpful poster from IDNR with images and resources on mushrooms in Illinois.
    Powerful search tool for information about species and habitats in Illinois.

    Scroll to Top