“Prominent historic state park”
Starved Rock is probably the single most prominent historic place connected with early Indian life in the Corridor. This striking pedestal of sandstone has a colorful history to match. Its name comes from a semi-legendary disaster that befell a group of Illinois Indians besieged on its top in the aftermath of Pontiacs Uprising around 1769. Starved Rock State Park – VOTED THE #1 ATTRACTION IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS – is a world apart from anything else in Illinois! You will know it the minute you enter the park, as you wind your car through the towering trees.Amazing waterfalls are active in the spring and after heavy rains. We have 13 miles of trails to explore, plus, the Illinois River offers fishing (ice fishing, too), boating, extraordinary views and great places to relax. In the pre-Columbian era, the area was home to Native Americans, particularly the Kaskaskia who lived in the Grand Village of the Illinois across the river. Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette were the first Europeans recorded as exploring the region, and by 1683, the French had established Fort St. Louis on a large sandstone butte overlooking the river. Later, according to a native legend, a group of Illinois Confederation (Illini) pursued by the Ottawa and Potawatomi fled to the butte in the late 18th century. The Ottawa and Potawatomi besieged the butte until all of the Illini had starved, and the butte became known as "Starved Rock". The butte area was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. The park region has been the subject of several archeological studies concerning both native and European settlements, and various other archeological sites associated with the park were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. A catastrophic flood known as the Kankakee Torrent, which took place somewhere between 14,000 and 17,000 years ago, before humans occupied the area, helped create the park's signature geology and features, which are very unusual for the central plains. Starved Rock is especially known for its outcrops of St. Peter's Sandstone, which can be found all over the park, most easily seen in the canyons and Starved Rock itself. *Supposedly featured in the movie Prancer when they release Prancer to fly away...*
The place in the picture is St Louis Canyon. Parking was closed near the trail. You can park at the boat ramp and it's about a 1.5 mile hike. Water fall is dry in the fall.
FYI Park is open from 7 am to 9 pm but the trails are only open from dawn until dusk. I hiked the trails with a friend the day after attending a wedding in the Lodge. Absolutely beautiful, interesting trails with a ton of elevation changes.
Give yourself a few hours to really explore this park. Elevated walkways and boardwalks extend throughout the park, along the river and up onto the mountain. Lots of overlooks for pictures or just to take in the view and maybe even see some bald eagles.
As a kid growing up near Chicago, I was pretty used to everything being flat. That made the walls of sandstone and gorgeous waterfalls extra exciting to me and my sister. We were lucky enough to go camping at Starved Rock a few times, and those are some of my favorite childhood memories. It's a very special place, and not even that far from the big city! I can't wait to revisit as an adult.
The geomorphology of Starved Rock State Park is incredible and all natural. (rocks sculpted from a catastrophic flood) This place is great for hiking but you must be prepared for a lot of ups and down. The ground is hilly so wear comfortable outfits and shoes.Also, you need to bring water and food supplies as there isn't any place to buy from.
Not far away from Chicago, approximately two hours, this place waits for adventurous people to visit.Grab your cameras and just enjoy the great views of the canyons!
Starved Rock State Park Campgrounds: Friendly staff. Shower and bathroom conditions need major improvement. You will have three seconds of water for hand washing before needing to push for more water. Two showers, both timed, and one was broken. Shower walls were slimy with reddish sludge. One toilet only, which took three times to flush toilet paper down. I'm told the men's shower walls have no slimy sludge (maybe it's from conditioner buildup in the ladies bathroom).
Grounds were clean and nice. Fire pit comes with a grill attached which was great.
When traveling to St. Louis Canyon: Main road was closed due to deteriorated road conditions. It appears they no longer upkeep this road. We parked outside the gate along other cars and walked in past the gate. There is about a quarter of a mile hike down the main road until you get the the trailhead.
Very beautiful (and buggy) mid-morning. A definite must see.
Picturesque canyons and seasonal waterfalls, great hiking trails
One reviewer stated that the only waterfalls are in St. Louis & LaSalle Canyons, which is simply not true. While the waterfalls are seasonal, being best after spring rains, 14 of the 18 canyons are known to have waterfalls at times. After a heavy early April 2017 rainfall, I encountered 12 waterfalls on a hike into just 3 canyons - Kaskaskia, Ottawa & Illinois, on the extreme eastern end of the park. Normally, those canyons have just one waterfall apiece. On the busiest holiday weekends, that may be one of the best areas to hike, if one wishes to avoid the crowds.
Check out Matthiessen State Park, Starved Rock's sister park about 2 miles south, during your visit. It's a bit more pristine and its waterfalls may be even more amazing than those at Starved Rock.
Please, however, preserve the fragile sandstone bluffs by refraining from "leaving your mark" and stay on marked trails, for your own safety. Each year multiple rescues are necessary due to people who attempt to climb the soft sandstone walls. Enjoy this beautiful natural area, but do it safely and leave no trace. Pack out what you bring in.
This place is awesome! Loved all the big waterfalls and the mini canyons. I felt like I was in another world when hiking to the falls. The hikes itself weren't very difficult or long. One of my favorite parks I've visited for sure!
Do you have a love for nature and the great outdoors? If so, you need to check out Starved Rock State Park. Located just a few hours from Chicago, this park is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.
The park has over 13 miles of hiking trails and numerous waterfalls and canyons to explore. Also, the park offers excellent camping sites and fishing and boating facilities. If you want to relax outdoors for a weekend, this is the perfect place.
Best of all, it’s open daily from sunrise to sunset (10:00 am to 5:00 pm).
We think a visit here is one of the best weekend getaways from Chicago!
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Starved Rock State Park
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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