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Starved Rock State Park in Illinois

Witness the fascinating rock formations brought to the surface after being deposited in a huge shallow inland sea around 425 million years ago

Best time: all year round

Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park is a natural area along the south bank of the Illinois River,. It is located less than 100 mi (161 km) southwest of Chicago and is dappled with numerous canyons within its 2,630 ac (1,064 ha). The park hosts over two million tourists annually, the most for any state park in Illinois.

Amazing Starved Rock State Park can be visited during all seasons. The park's 18 canyons feature vertical walls of moss-covered rock formed by glacial meltwater that slice dramatically through tree-covered sandstone cliffs. More than 13 mi (21 km) of trails give access to waterfalls, natural springs, spectacular overlooks, and sandstone overhangs. Exuberant flora supports abundant wildlife. Cedar, oak, and pine grow on drier, sandy cliff tops. The trails are open all year, but hikers are urged to follow official trails only.

Starved Rock State Park has a rich history and provides excellent beauty with hiking trails that meander between tall trees along the Illinois River. You'll find various outdoor activities in this area: from canoeing and paddleboat cruises to fishing and trolley rides, available throughout the year. Guests can stay at the famous Starved Rock Lodge or in one of its comfortable cottages.

Practical info

What activities are available at Starved Rock State Park?

Visitors to Starved Rock State Park can hike, fish, canoe, or take paddleboat cruises. Trolley rides are provided for those interested in the area's history, and winter visitors can snowshoe, cross-country ski, or bald eagle watch. All these activities can be enjoyed year-round at the park, providing an abundance of options for visitors to choose from. Show more

Which hiking trails are considered the best at Starved Rock State Park?

Starved Rock State Park is home to over 13 miles of trails, offering visitors breathtaking natural landscapes, including canyons, waterfalls, and rock formations. The park features several popular trails such as Starved Rock Trail, French Canyon Trail, and Lover's Leap Trail that welcome hikers in all seasons and promise an experience that they will treasure for a long time. Show more

When is the best time to vacation at Starved Rock State Park?

Starved Rock State Park is a beautiful location to visit throughout the year, with seasonal highlights. Spring sees the park's waterfalls at their most spectacular, while fall is ideal for visitors wanting to experience the beautiful foliage. Winter visitors can experience bald eagle watching. Summertime is the busiest season, but it provides an abundance of activities for all to savor. Show more

What is the location of Starved Rock State Park?

Starved Rock State Park is situated on the southern shore of the Illinois River in LaSalle County, Illinois, covering 2,600 acres of canyons, cliffs, and forest. The park is open all year and can be reached by Interstates 39, 80, and 90, and it's approximately 100 miles (161 km) southwest of Chicago, Illinois. Show more

What is the history behind Starved Rock State Park?

Starved Rock State Park holds a deep history that dates back centuries with the area once home to various Native American tribes. The park itself gained its name from a legend of a group of Illiniwek who starved to death on the rock formation. Soon afterward, the park would become a favorite tourist attraction in the late 1800s, culminating in the creation of the Starved Rock Lodge and many other facilities. Show more

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Last updated: by Dari Vasiljeva