If you are planning to hike, Starved Rock State Park is the place to be! With 13 miles of well marked hiking trails, you can plan your hiking based on your skill levels. Please remember to always leave no trace and take only memories.
Visitor Center Hikes:
Guided Hikes (Free) Illinois Department of Natural Resources Starved Rock Visitor Center will now host FREE guided hikes to Starved Rock and French Canyon every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. through November 17th. Guided hikes will discuss the history, legend, geology, plants, and animals of the park. Hikes will last 1 hour and 15 minutes. No reservations needed. Meet inside of the Visitor Center by 9:25 on Saturday mornings.
Saturdays and Sundays when posted at the Visitor Center. If you’d like to schedule a hike for a group of 10 or more, please call the Visitor Center prior to your visit at (815) 667-4726. Please note:Due to the high volume on visitors during the summer months and limited park staff, we may not be able to make guided hike reservations for groups during holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Guided hikes, if available, will be posted on the kiosk inside the Visitor Center on Saturdays and Sundays or through reservations outside of those holiday weekends. Thank you for understanding.
Starved Rock Lodge Hikes:
Guided Hikes (Payment Required)
Starved Rock Lodge offers guided hikes year ’round. Check out their website for upcoming guided hikes.
Starved Rock Lodge Walker’s Club (Free) Would you like someone to hike with you? Don’t know where to hike? The Starved Rock Lodge Walker’s Club meets on Thursdays at 9am in the lobby of Starved Rock Lodge for preplanned group hikes. These hikes are free, take a few hours and usually end around noon. Ask for a full schedule at the Front Desk or call the Lodge for more information at (800) 220-7386. If you’d like to get an idea of what you’ll see on the trails or want to know trail conditions, follow Edna’s blog here as she hikes through Starved Rock, Matthiessen and Buffalo Rock!
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.
Pack Smart. Bring only what you need and leave the rest behind so you don’t end up dragging a 65 lb. backpack up 150 stairs.
Dress appropriately according to weather so you don’t get hypothermia in the winter or heat stroke in the summer.
Give yourself enough time to do more than just hike. Take pictures of your friends and family on top of Starved Rock and enjoy yourself while you’re here!
Starved Rock State Park
Although you can 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. Come back in the winter to see an icefall – they are spectacular!
We highly recommend you to come back to Starved Rock during different seasons of the year. The entire park, including the canyons and trails, look completely different in the fall and winter than in the spring and summer.