For more than a hundred years, Starved Rock has been the premiere road trip destination in LaSalle County. With over 13 miles of trails and 18 canyons, there’s plenty to explore. Here’s seven stops you should be sure to visit on your next trip to the park!
Stop 1: The Starved Rock Visitors Center
The Starved Rock Visitor Center is the perfect place to start your State Park adventure! Here, you’ll find interactive educational displays, free videos on the park’s history, hiking maps and a bookstore! While you’re there, be sure to check out Trailhead Concessions and Gifts for a great selection of hiking provisions.
Stop 2: Starved Rock
From the Visitors Center, take a short 0.3-mile hike towards the park’s namesake, Starved Rock. The summit is home to one of the best views in the entire park, where you can marvel at the Illinois River, or watch birds plunge for fish near the base of the Illinois Waterways Lock and Dam.
Stop 3: St. Louis Canyon
Just a few minutes to the west of the Visitors Center, off IL-178, you’ll find the parking lot for St. Louis Canyon. At the end of this 0.4-mile hike you’ll be treated to a beautiful box canyon, complete with a tall waterfall and hidden alcove that runs behind it. Even when falls aren’t in season, the canyon’s towering walls of intricate sandstone make for quite the sight.
Tip: You can borrow binoculars, dog bowls, and dog leashes for FREE at the front desk of the Visitors Center.
Stop 4: French Canyon
One of the easiest hikes in the parks, just so happens to lead to one of the most beautiful canyons! Located just 0.4-miles southeast of the Visitors Center, French Canyon offers a towering 45-foot tall waterfall during the rainy season, and beautifully eroded Saint Peters sandstone all year round. After a rainfall, admire the colorful streaks left on the canyon walls by the mineral-rich water.
Stop 5: LaSalle Canyon
Located about a mile from the Parkman’s Plain parking lot, LaSalle Canyon boasts a wide picturesque canyon and jutting sandstone shelf, suspended 20 feet off the ground. Best of all, your hike to canyon will wind you along the Illinois river, providing you with a great view of the river and chance to see some rare birds and foliage.
Stop 6: Water Cruise or Trolley Tour
If you’re looking to get out of the canyons and take a break from hiking, or if you have a party member looking for a less active excursion, you can reserve a spot aboard Starved Rock’s Eagle One Water Cruise (running Jun. – Oct.) or take a Trolley Tour (running year-round). These narrated tours merge history and sighting seeing for truly one-of-kind view of Starved Rock.
Stop 7: The Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center
After a full day of hiking and sightseeing, cap your trip off with a stay at the Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center. This historic hotel nestled in nature, features a Cliffside panorama of the Illinois river, an indoor pool complex, on-site restaurants and a beautiful rustic lounge. You can choose from historic lodge accommodations, spacious hotel rooms or charming log cabins.