New visitors to Starved Rock State Park are continually surprised and awed at the spectacular natural features found here. Surrounded by the flat, seemingly endless fields of Illinois farm country, a totally different topography is found within the park. Starved Rock was formed thousands of years ago by the melting of glaciers releasing torrents of water. As the water rushed downstream it eroded and stripped away everything in its path except the resistant St. Peter sandstone. It is that sandstone that formed the steep rock walls and the cool dark valleys of the eighteen canyons. When conditions are right cascades of falling water spill down into these gorges, creating the waterfalls so many come here to enjoy.
Click Here for Hiking Map
Click here to view our hiking blog
This blog gives you great information on trail conditions, water/ice conditions and a sneak peek at what you will see while hiking!
Although you can technically see waterfalls in 14 of the 18 canyons, some of the most scenic waterfalls are found in St. Louis, French, Wildcat, Tonty, Ottawa and Kaskaskia canyons. The best times to see waterfalls are in the spring when the snow and ice melt or after a heavy rainfall.
Winter brings a whole new life to the canyons. The freezing and melting that happens during this time of year creates amazing ice sculptures in the canyons. Make sure you come back in the winter to see an icefall – they are spectacular!
The LaSalle Canyon parking lot also known as Parkman’s Plain along the eastern edge of Starved Rock and Route 71 will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians starting March 23rd-July 1st of 2019. Trails remain open but users will have to access them from Hennepin Canyon parking lot further down along Route 71, or off of the Red River trail system leading from the Starved Rock Visitor Center or Lodge. IDOT and IDNR will be working on expanding the existing parking lot during this time frame as well as adding a shelter to Lone Point Shelter. Thank you for understanding-happy trails!