Trail Tips

  • Start with short hikes and work your way up from there. Use these hikes to familiarize yourself with the trail map and markers. Keep track of how much time you need to hike. This will help you plan hikes in the future.
  • Hike along trails that are further from the Visitor Center and Lodge, such as the interior canyon trails of Tonty and LaSalle for a more natural, rugged, hiking experience.
  • Stop every once in a while to look at your surroundings: you never know what you might miss if you don’t. As you are leaving a canyon, look back.
  • Let your body gradually adjust to the unique demands of hiking by warming up before you hike and taking care not to overexert yourself.
  • Make long hikes shorter by driving out to parking lots that are closer to your destination. Keep an eye out for road closures; some parking lots may not be accessible.

Tools of the Trade

  1. Reusable Water Bottle *Highly Recommended* – Having water available when you need it can make or break your hiking experience. You can find reusable water bottles at Trailheads, located in the Visitor Center or at the Starved Rock Lodge Gift Shop.
  2. Medicine *Highly Recommended* – Medical conditions, such as asthma or diabetes can quickly become medical emergencies. When you’re out on a trail a mile from the Visitor Center, help isn’t always nearby, and your cell phone might not get any reception, so please bring your medicine.
  3. Insect Repellent *Highly Recommended* – You’re on the trails to have a good hike, not to give mosquitoes a free meal. Apply the repellent and leave the bottle behind.
  4. Small Backpack – Carrying a small backpack sure beats storing everything you own in your pockets or purses. You can also help keep the park clean by using your backpack (and maybe a bag as well) to store your garbage until you return.
  5. Camera – Make your time at Starved Rock memorable and snap a few photos along the trails.
  6. Trail Map – Useful for planning hikes and finding your way around Starved Rock State Park. Find these at the information desk at either the Visitor Center or the Lodge.
  7. Walking Stick – Helps you hike across streams and difficult terrain with ease.
  8. Hiking Shoes – Good for trails with dirt paths and difficult footing (especially after rainfall)
  9. Small Towel/Bandana – Helps reduce heat exhaustion; simply pour some water on it and wear.