Park Programs & Activities

The staff of the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center have put together some great educational programs for all ages!  Bring the kids and learn all about the exciting history and geology of this park.

Starved Rock State Park / Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Special Events

Winter Wilderness Weekend
Eagle Watch Weekend
Wildflower Pilgrimage Weekend
National Trails Day Hike on June 2nd
Fall Colors Weekend
Haunted Hike

Junior Ranger Program

Click here for our Junior Ranger Program Packet (ages 5-7)
Click here for our Junior Ranger Program Packet (8 years and up)

To learn more, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website,
call (815) 667-4726 or stop by the Visitor Center located at
2678 N. State Route 178, Oglesby, IL 61348

2018 Calendar of Events

Click here to see a PDF version of events

December 30, 2018
Holiday Storytelling with Bill Myers
Bill Myers, local Illinois Valley storytelling, will be spinning his holiday tales at the Starved Rock Visitor Center. Storytelling is great for all ages. Storytelling will begin at 1:30pm and last one hour.

2019 Calendar of Events

January 6, 2019
Bobcats: The Reclusive Native Cat of Illinois

Sunday, January 6 from 1:30-2:30pm.
Jennifer Kuroda will cover the history, biology, predator perception, management and current studies on the bobcat population in Illinois. Pelts, tracks, scat and mounts will be shown.

January 12 & 13, 2019
Winter Wilderness Weekend

Guided Hikes: 9:30am, 11am and 1pm. Free event, no registration required.

January 26 and 27, 2019
Eagle Watch Weekend
Guided Hikes: 9:30am, 11am and 1pm. Free event, no registration required. Hike to choose from: Starved Rock and French Canyon (.75 mile), Eagle Cliff and Lovers Leap Overlooks (1.5 miles roundtrip) and Wildcat Canyon with Overlooks (2 miles roundtrip).
For more information, please visit the Illinois Audubon Society’s website

February 10, 2019
Sandstone Tales: Geology of Starved Rock’s Past
Sunday, February 10 from 1:30-2:30pm.
Have you ever wondered how these awesome canyons that produce those beautiful waterfalls were formed? Answers to Illinois geological past as they apply to Starved Rock State Park will be revealed – join us!

March 10, 2019
Maple Tapping at the Rock
Sunday, March 10 from 1:30-2:30pm.
Discover Maple Syrup’s beginnings from Native American and Pioneer use to present day. We will end the program with identifying a maple tree and tapping it for maple sap!

March 17, 2019
The History of Starved Rock 1673-1911
Sunday, March 17 from 1:30-2:30pm.
Learn about our fabulous Native American, French and British colonial and American history when Park Historian Mark Walczynski presents a program based on his new book, “The History of Starved Rock 1673-1911.” The program is a must see for history buffs, educators and others.

March 22, 2019
Full Moon Night Hike / LaSalle and Tonti Canyons
Friday, March 22 from 5:30-7pm
Pre-registration only email: [email protected]
The trails at Matthiessen and Starved Rock close at dark daily, unless you are attending a guided hike such as this one with the Park Interpreter! Enjoy a 2-mile guided hike with the park interpreter under the glow of the full moon. Meet at the LaSalle and Tonti Canyon parking lot off of Route 71. Hike will leave promptly at 5:30pm and cover 2 miles roundtrip.

March 24, 2019
The Illinois Indians: History and Culture in Illinois
Sunday, March 24 from 1:30-2:30pm
A number of states are named after Native American Tributes and one of them is the state of Illinois. Journey through the early history of the Illinois Indians with Dr. Dan Hechenberger in this fascinating program.

April 14, 2019
Living with Wildlife: A Balance Helping Nature
Sunday, April 14 from 1:30-2:30pm
Have you ever wondered what to do with a baby animal or an injured or orphaned animal? Join Nancy Johnson of the 2nd Hand Ranch and Rescue from Princeton, Illinois as she talks about her life as a wildlife rescuer and helps us understand how to live with wildlife on and off the trail.

April 27, 2019
Ecology of Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers
Saturday, April 27 from 1:30-2:30pm
The onset of spring brings beautiful wildflowers to the woodlands of Illinois and Starved Rock State Park is home to a rich variety of common and rare spring ephemeral wildflowers. These plants deploy an amazing array of strategies to deal with the challenges of living on the forest floor. This talk will cure your winter blues by discussing the myriad of adaptations by these interesting plants.

May 4 and 5, 2019
Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage Weekend
Hikes leave the Visitor Center at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m., both days.  Hike to choose from:  Starved Rock and French Canyon (3/4 mile), Eagle Cliff and Lovers Leap Overlooks (1.4 miles roundtrip), and Wildcat Canyon with overlooks (2 miles roundtrip). Spring is such a beautiful time of year at the Rock!  Waterfalls, mossy canyons, crisp and clean air on the overlooks, and spring wildflowers everywhere you see.  Join experienced naturalists both park staff and volunteers for a one of kind trail experience to find spring ephemerals (wildflowers) and learn about their natural history. 

Saturday, June 1, 2019
National Trails Day Event

Guided Hikes:  9:30am and 1pm. Free event, no registration required.
Meet and greet with Smokey the Bear and Sammy the Starved Rock Eagle

October 19 and 20, 2019
Fall Colors Weekend

Guided hikes:  9:30am, 10am, 11am, and 1pm. Free event, no registration required.

Saturday, October 26, 2019
Halloween Tales and Trails at Starved Rock

Guided hikes to the ghosts of Starved Rock’s past:  5pm and 6pm (PRE-REGISTRATION ONLY)

Starved Rock Photography Contest and Show
Entries due December 1, 2019
Showcased in Kaskaskia Room and Visitor Center December 3rd-16th
Judging: December 8, 2019

Starved Rock Foundation

The Starved Rock Foundation is a friends group that supports the state park through educational programs, supplies, exhibit updates, leading hikes, trail walkers, front desk support, bookstore, and other labors of love. It is a volunteer-run organization. The Foundation and the staff at the park work hand-in-hand to provide a positive park experience. Without them, the Visitor’s Center, guided hikes, and programs could not happen. You can be part of this team! Learn more by visiting the Starved Rock Foundation’s website or Facebook page.