Bald Knob Cross of Peace in Alto Pass, Illinois

Bald Knob Cross of Peace

I apologize for the horrible quality of the photos today. But…for every bad picture there is an amazing story to go with it…

So…you kind of know you’re in trouble when it’s dark, 9oclock at night, and you realize that you next destination is truly in the middle of nowhere, through winding gravel roads of Midwestern vineyards and your directions stop before the point where you have to drive 4 miles up a mountain…and you didn’t even think a mountain existed in Illinois. So, after much assuming because we could not find a single road that was on our directions, we finally found a sign that pointed to the road we needed to take to find the Bald Knob Cross of Peace (read: giant cross at top of mountain). I drove us in the pitch black through a tiny gravely winding road up the mountain. It was creepy. VERY VERY CREEPY! We truly expected to break down in front of a deserted house only to have someone run after us with an ax. Or for the road to just stop and for us to plummet down a mountain. Or some equally creepy horror-film in the making moment. The road was black and covered in trees and I could hardly see a thing. Finally (finally!) we realized that we were, in fact up the mountain, and saw the cross…way off in the distance in a place that looked like there was no way we could actually drive to. But with the sun setting behind it, and the sky a beautiful shade of purple, we trudged on. Finally (finally!) we made it to the cross! It was basically pitch black by the time we found the cross. And there were these holes in the cross that made it sound like it was breathing. And there was this other couple who drove us but stayed a bit down the hill. And we thought they were murderers who were going to slash my tires and kill us. But it was beautiful to be up there. Amazing really.

Bald Knob Cross of Peace in Alto Pass, Illinois

The cross stands above the Shawnee National Forest at 111 feet tall, 22 square feet at the base, 16 square feet at the top, and has an arm-span of 63 feet.

Bald Knob Cross of Peace in Alto Pass, Illinois

Looking for more crosses on your path? Check out America’s Largest Cross in nearby Effingham and the Giant Cross in La Follette, Tennessee.

Site: Bald Knob Cross of Peace
Location: 3630 Bald Knob Rd, Alto Pass, IL
Cost: Free to see.
Hours: Daylight Hours…but it’s better (and kind of scarier) at night.
Date: July 14, 2007


Founder & Head Road Tripper

Val is the founder and head road tripper at Silly America. Having grown up near Berwyn's famed car kabob, The Spindle, and a restaurant with a cow on its roof, her fascination with roadside attractions started early. Today, Val has visited hundreds roadside attractions across the United States and is constantly on the lookout for the next BIG thing!