Where We Are Located…
3630 Bald Knob Road, Alto Pass, Illinois, in the heart of Shawnee National Forest.
Traveling to the Cross…
The closest villages are Alto Pass and Cobden, both 10-15 minutes from the cross, and the closest towns are Anna, Murphysboro, and Carbondale, each being 20-30 minutes from the cross.
From Alto Pass, follow the signs to Bald Knob Cross; Bald Knob Road is a paved but winding road about 4 miles from Alto Pass. It’s an easy drive; a little snug for tour buses, but very doable, and there’s room for buses to turn around at the top.
From the base of the cross, you have a 360 degree unobstructed view of southern Illinois. A national symbol of faith, this 111-foot-tall cross, when illuminated at night, can be seen over an area of 7,500 square miles atop the most prominent elevation in Southern Illinois.
From the grounds, in various locations, enjoy the beauty of the landscape, regardless of what season you choose to visit. Each month of the year brings its own beauty.
Things To Do
- Scavenger hunts
- Children’s play area
- Flying kites, playing ball or just running the hillsides
- Picnic tables provided under a pavilion (reservations needed for groups)
- Tables on the front patio and all around the base of the cross
- Trail heads located on the grounds
- Several difficulty levels (refer to Shawnee National Forest hiking guides for detailed information
Inside the Welcome Center, you will find a Prayer Request tree – fill out a prayer request card, hang it on the tree, and then take a prayer request off the tree that someone else has left. The prayer chain is powerful! Or, submit a prayer request through our online tool here.
Meditation and Renewal
Spend time alone at the cross, on a bench or table overlooking Shawnee National Forest. Watch the sun come up (reservation required) or the sunset. Participate in a meditative self renewal by moving to different places on the grounds, and focusing on God’s presence and movement in your life.
Check out the Views
Through the binocular on the observation deck, you can see the top of the Bill Emerson bridge connecting Illinois to Missouri at Cape Girardeau, and the Mississippi River snaking through the forest. You can also see the areas of Jackson, and Fruitland, Missouri to the West, and Ware, Anna/Jonesboro to the East.
Visit the Welcome Center
Shop in the Gift Shop
Inside the Welcome Center, you will find a fully stocked gift shop with Bald Knob Cross memorabilia, gift items, t-shirts, hats, and other high quality items.
Bald Knob Cross operates solely on donations and purchases from the gift shop, so every customer who supports us is so important!
Visit the History Corner
In one corner of the Welcome Center, and also at the base of the cross, you will find panels with story pictures of how the cross came to be.
Take a few moments and journey back to walk in the shoes of those who worked so hard to make the cross a reality.
Watch an 8-minute video that shares the amazing journey of two men’s dream that developed into an 111 foot cross atop one of the highest points in southern Illinois.
Be inspired… and most likely amazed at the obstacles that have been overcome for Bald Knob Cross to be what it is today.
Coffee & Snack Time
The Welcome Center hosts a coffee bar, soft drink/water cooler, ice cream novelties, and candy bars. Treat yourself and relax on the lawn, one of the many benches or picnic tables.
Sign Our Guest Book
Please sign our Guest book, and our email newsletter. We love to know where our visitors come from, and we love to share information with you about new events and activities happening at Bald Knob Cross.
Place Yourself on the Map
Inside the Welcome Center you’ll find a large US and world map. Be sure and put a pin in the location where you’re from, and take a look at where thousands of other visitors come from!
Visit the Memorial Paver Garden
At the base of the cross, on all four sides, is a memorial paver garden filled with bricks that supporters have purchased and had laid at the cross. Some are in memory of those who have passed; some are in honor of those still living, or in celebration of a special occasion. The paver bricks are a significant fund raiser for as well as an important visual memory or honoring of those who are loved. Details on purchasing a paver brick.
Bring Your Family or a Group
Are you looking for a place for a family reunion, or a gathering for a special occasion? We have indoor and outdoor spaces that can be reserved (no charge, but we do ask for a donation). Our inside space has a commercial kitchen and seating for approximately 40 around round tables. The outside pavilion seats approximately 50. Reserve by calling Teresa at 618-713-8516.
Where to Stay, Eat and Things to Do in the Area
Alto Pass, Cobden and Pomona are the communities with the closest proximity to the cross, so any businesses with those address will be nearby. Southern Illinois offers a wide variety of cabins, inns, bed/breakfasts, Airbnb, campgrounds….whatever you’re looking for to get away for a while. Murphysboro has been named the BBQ Capital of Illinois, and Bald Knob Cross is in the heart of the Wine Trail. Many options await your visit!