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Starved Rock Map
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Let me start off by making it clear that the trail culture is very sub par. We encountered many groups of people blasting their music through super loud speakers. There was also a good amount of engravings on the rocks. Not to mention, there was trash all over the river walk. The combination of these things really hindered our experience. Despite all of this, the canyons/waterfalls looked quite nice from afar, and the hikes there were pleasant. The best canyons in our opinion were Kaskaskia and Ottawa. Get there early to avoid the crowds. 6/10

It was nice. We drove almost 2 hours to get here after wanting to go for a few months. The scenery was breathtaking, especially since Chicago is almost completely flat! The only problem that I encountered was that the trail was so built up. Most of it was either wood or concrete and it made the experience feel very superficial, especially walking past women in dresses wanting to take pictures. The waterfalls and canyons were really something incredible though, and we were even able to climb them (without harnesses; please don’t try if you aren’t familiar or comfortable with the rocks). Overall, it was a great place to go for a day and I’d love to visit again. We got a brochure with a map from the building after the parking lot and outlined exactly where we wanted to go, so I suggest you do that too. Have a great hike!

Good hike anywhere, incredible hike for Illinois... some nice views, gets your heart pumping with some stairs, great for birding, I’m not really into birding per say but I saw tons of small birds, a hawk, an owl and lots more on the river, la salle canyon is the best part

two thumbs up

It was an amazing last min. trip idea for spring break. Very muddy today but totally worth it and my 10yr old son and mom had a blast.

hiking
29 days ago

Great experience. Favorite section of the park

Its a very pretty touristy Trail I didnt see much of anyone and really ever do but look at the time I go . I aint much of a people person when im on a trail so I stay away from them and pick my times according if Im visiting a tourist/Disney Style trail. I always park in down town Ottawa and Backpacked to the 1st Canyon Trail (Horse Shoe Canyon and then pack from there all the way to the end (Visitor Center/Inn/Bar) Then I pack my way back to Ottawa. I do this just about every year . I love winter pack-ins and enjoy camping outside in the winter-freeze(Less people) so this is always a good winter start to my new year. I usually do it sometime in the month of Jan. I stay on the trail( which is frowned on) but I believe and live !!NO TRACE!! so no-one ever knows I was there and thats not saying much because although it is frowned on that I renegade camp this area has got alot of trash from your so-called-nature-lovers who throw away just about everything they carry in on the ground as they walk through this park !!!!!! It makes me so angry!!!!! You came with it so leave with it !! Its lighter now!!! so carry it out! If campgrounds-Trails-Wildernesses-Forests and Parks had trash everywhere people would complain "Dont go there its a Dump!" WELL MY FRIENDS YOU ARE THE REASON IT IS A DUMP. Outside of that rant I really enjoy my 2-half day Pack-in during the winter here and yes as I move along I pick up the trash left behind by others .Its not enough I carry 47lbs of winter backpacking gear on my back I carry a bag of your trash to throw away as well. SHOW RESPECT ,LEAVE NO TRACE!

Fun hike, can be challenging to stay dry in the dells if your worried about staying dry.... I try to avoid it on the weekends as it can get packed full of people in the summer. Winter time is nice just don't forget your snow/ice cleats. One of the few good hiking spots within 60 miles of the metro area.

hiking
1 month ago

My favorite canyon at starved rock. It can be difficult to stay dry crossing the the river 3 times if the water is up. Make sure you obey the sign at the end of the canyon on the same side as the falls and do not enter the area with views from above the the canyon and a peaceful spot on the river to relax.....

hiking
2 months ago

Winter hiking. Eagles and frozen waterfalls.

Lovely in December with frozen waterfalls!

love it!

Fun trail to take kids on. You do have to cross the river 3 times so wear waterproof shoes or boots. There are fallen trees or stones to cross on but no bridges.

Beautiful day in mid-October. High 70's. Light breeze. Colors coming in. Who could ask for more?!

Nice trail. Not as trashy as expected from reading other reviews.

It doesn’t seem like you’re in Illinois when you hike this trail. Even during times when the other water falls are dry, there is still water flowing in this one.

Great hike. It is connected to a few other trails. A couple of waterfalls too.

Great hike. It is connected to a few other trails. A couple of waterfalls too.

Great hike. It is connected to a few other trails. A couple of waterfalls too.

Very easy trail. A few stairs but not many. Very lovely.

Nice trail, but like others have said, terrible trail culture. I think my experience would have been much better had I gone a weekday rather than an overcrowded weekend. Regardless, nice park and enjoyable hike.

A good trail for family. Trails consist of boardwalk and well blazed sand paths good for minimizing lower body impact.

7 months ago

Mark Stedham's picture is of LaSalle Canyon, NOT Tonty Canyon.

Popular trail, went late in evening to avoid crowds..Boardwalk and stairs make for easy hike. Great views of Illinois River from Starved Rock overlook and Lovers Leap

Best of Illinois landscape. Worst of Illinois people.

We hiked this small trail network for about 5 hours, there are so many nooks you can find that are simply awesome. I haven't found anywhere in Illinois that compares to the natural beauty. I strongly recommend spending time in some of the less frequently traveled areas, you can actually enjoy these and they are every bit as beautiful as the main drag.

The negative, and what held this back from a 5* review... the disrespectful trashy people. I have hiked all over this country, and never once seen a park so littered with trash, cigarette butts, and broken (!) glass. Shards of broken glass everywhere along the heavily traveled areas. My daughter and I counted over 30+ plastic bottles thrown by the wayside before we simply gave up. We saw 8+ dirty diapers people just threw on the trail presumably after changing their child. Crushed beer cans everywhere. Discarded random shirts, socks, shoes, flip flops, misc clothing. The place was disgusting in areas. People were walking around playing music, smoking, swearing, acting like fools. I have a 5 and 10 year old and wouldn't bring them back down the main canyon that was home to most of the foot traffic and trash (people). Very very sad. This could have been amazing, but apparently Illinois residents do not care much about their natural parks.

Lastly, wear shoes with decent soles, not flip flops, and be careful of thin water shoes. You will step on broken glass if you go down the trafficked canyon. If you don't have decent shoes the shards could go through your sole into your foot.

8 months ago

Very easy to get lost. Signs aren't very well posted. And lots stinging nettle everywhere!! If going to do make sure you wear long pants and long sleeves!!! I didn't and I was in pain! I think if I had known in advance and covered with clothes all over I would have liked it more.

So much to see

Good hike. Great waterfalls. Tough hills

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