Explore To hike! - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

To hike! Map
VIEW FULL MAP

I absolutely love hiking here, but the people are absolute slobs. I’ve been going here since I was a kid and I brought my kids there yesterday and they were quite upset about the MASSIVE amount of garbage everywhere. They need to implement some serious litter prevention. Ban all disposable water bottles being the first, I’ve never seen so much trash at a park like this. It’s depressing.

I was pleasantly surprised with Starved Rock. It is awesome that all of the trails connect and you can decide what paths to take and loop all over. The canyons were sweet and picturesque.
It was an absolute zoo when we finished at 11am. Totally nuts. Would recommend getting there as early as possible to avoid crowds. We got there at 8am.
Do go hike, it's the best the area has to offer.

hiking
13 days ago

Here usually once a week in spring through fall with our pups. Great trail and easy although there are some spots a little tricky. Prefer going during the week as not so crowded. Make sure to bring skeeter and tick repellent for yourself and pups.

mountain biking
15 days ago

Very beautiful trail. Beware, if you ask the staff where the trail begins you will have to pay $10 and sign a waiver.

Awesome trail! Going back soon to explore more of the park. Beautiful views, beautiful waterfalls and an excellent place to explore. Can't wait to go back!

Awesome trail! Going back soon to explore more of the park. Beautiful views, beautiful waterfalls and an excellent place to explore. Can't wait to go back!

hiking
17 days ago

The trail had some nice views. I went on a Monday and only saw two other people. My friend broke his ankle tripping over one of the roots sticking out on the trail so be careful about that. Good trail for Illinois.

nice trail slightly hilly gives a pretty good workout for an old lady like me ☀

Great hike with an awesome waterfall to play around or near. Fun little "pool" area at the base of the falls to cool down in. Our dog loved it too. If u do bring your dog go early because of the heat....and plenty of water for you and your pooch. Hike back wasn't too bad, the last .5 mile back was probably the hardest. Only saw one snake..

That place is so beautiful I loved

Beautiful views. Make sure to purchase a permit. One permit for 5 people. Bring plenty of water and food. Don't forget your hat and sunscreen lotion because there are no shades. It was easy on the way down to the water fall. Yet, on the way back was a challenging. There was a little snake in the water. Be careful. I was there last week, July 1st.

Didn’t get to the falls (couldn’t get a $10 permit) but nice hike nonetheless

This is a nice trail that goes around the entire lake. The people that have houses on the lake have given up a small strip of their land for you to walk on, so be mindful of that. Along those lines, there really aren't too many places to exit that trail once you get on it since it goes through private property. Make sure you bring snacks/water with you for however long you plan on walking.

4/5 stars because during the summer it's pretty crowded and the trail isn't very wide to accommodate the traffic. There are nice lake views and cool houses to see, though. I would do it again.

Beautiful place to lose yourself in nature!

Love this hike! Good amount of parking, scenic mountains on the way down and decent work out on the way back. Wear a bathing suit and pack a lunch and hang near the water for a bit. I swam before hiking back to help beat the heat. There is zero shade besides down by the water so be smart. I went last week and there really was just a trickle vs a waterfall but definitely still worth the hike. Oh and get your permit - they checked mine at the tent before entering and then again after I had already done ~2 miles.

Wouldn’t really consider this hiking, most trails are built into the landscape with wooden platforms and stairs. It’s a nice shady hike though that is not very challenging. There are some good spots for scenery and photos. Also lots of trash throughout, people need to learn to pick up after themselves.

Canyons, waterfalls, sand dune, streams and River. This trail has everything! Its not very challenging but very scenic and much of trails are covered with tall trees. Makes for nice cool trail running during warmer month. At first , a good chunk of trails seems over made with wood and concrete but I believe those are necessary for masses to safely enjoy canyons and water falls. After while, its not that obtrusive.
Overall great place to hike and enjoy.

Beautiful hike!! But be aware that you need a permit. They have a tent pitched at the trailhead and wont let you go past without one. The way down was easy, but the way back up was tougher. Its not steep, but if its hot the granite makes it extremely hot and there is no shade. Bring a gallon per person, youll definitely need it. The water was trickling today, but there was a decent amount in the pool. It looked too stagnant to swim in, but people were in there anyway. Id definitely do it again, or try the two trails that branch from the north and south.

hiking
2 months ago

Getting to the waterfall was a piece of cake, but coming back was draining. The heat didn’t help matters either. Make sure you bring LOTS of water!!! The waterfall had trickling water but the pool was full. The sight was worth the hike. I would definitely come back. Overall, it was a great hike!

Went early at 7am. The hiking in/out was great! There was no creek to cross and the waterfall didn't have a lot of water but it's still very pretty! Cool weather today, out by 10:30 in the morning. Perfect day for a hike.

Get a permit beforehand. This trail is pretty easy as long as the weather is nice. There is no real climb; it is mostly switchbacks. The waterfall was awesome.

BTW... We saw a dead rattlesnake on the trail. Someone had smashed it with a rock. Yikes!

Did this trail 2x already. The first time I went we had some rain over the weekend so the falls were flowing really nicely. The 2nd time however, we haven’t had rain in a while (light drizzles) so there was no water flowing and the water was stagnant & gross with moss on top.

Still, it’s an easy trail to walk on.

You have to buy a permit for this location. $10 for every group of 5

You check in at the tent before you start your hike (they clock what time you start and check you out when you’re done)

Getting to the falls is easy since you’re going down. You’ll get nice views of the area on the way. Once you get to the valley, you’ll be walking over a lot of rocks so watch your step. If it rained, and water has been flowing, you’ll be crossing 2 little creeks and climbing a rock or 2 before you get to the falls.

At the falls, if the water hasn’t been stagnant, you can swim out to the tree and swing on a top someone left behind. Make sure your bags and food are sealed or the squirrels living there will take your stuff. They’re cute but sneaky little critters.

I’d say, only the hike back up where you’ll get tired. Always bring lots of water especially if the weather is hot. There are rattlesnakes in the area so be on the look out for them (so far I’ve been lucky the few times I’ve been there) I’ve seen people bring their dogs on the trail and this last time, a couple went horseback riding.

I’ll definitely have to bring some my friends back to this trail after we’ve had some rain so they can experience the nice waterfall I got to see my first time there.

Very nice, good trail for family. Paths are easy to follow. Can get very crowded during peak times, so go early if possible.

Worth doing; very scenic

Way down is pretty easy, seen a snake and a big salamander. The water fall is pretty thin right now and the pool is getting merky. The way back SUCKS, zero relief from the sun. Bring water duh! Sun block and a straw hat. We started a little late at 9am, try and go early as possible.

I was slightly worried after reading online reviews that it’s highly dangerous - but don’t let these perturb you. The hike is gentle down and back up, fine for me just 3 months after knee surgery - the greater concern is the temperature on the return because it’s hot (even at 71 degrees it felt warm!) so bring water, a hat and sunscreen and you’ll be fine.

The falls were trickling yesterday so next time I’ll come earlier in the year to see some more water. But otherwise a really pretty and satisfying hike, and the trail wasn’t busy at all on a Thursday afternoon.

Get your permit at recreation.gov in advance. Just screenshot it on your mobile, no need to print.

Loved this trail. Super neat with lots of canyons and lookouts over the river. Definitely a good hike for local hikers who don't want to travel too far for a wonderful experience.

Nice trail, not so difficult also for small kids.

It wasn’t what I expected. The hike itself was okay. To many people and a lot of steps.

Fantastic hike this morning! Weather was perfect, clear and sunny and we went early to avoid the brutal east county heat. (even when it's not hot.....it's hot) Snakes are out so keep eyes open. The falls are beautiful, such a marvel of nature.

The falls area gets very crowded, even with limited permits. We were lucky to go early and be able to sit at the falls for a while before a majority of people came in.

Hike is downhill to the falls and all uphill coming back. Bring plenty of water.

Secure your permit before you go and read up on regulations. We added hikers to our permit because a party was over the limit and was about to be turned away. There is a limit to the number in your party.

Gorgeous hike all around and the scenery is amazing. Can't wait for next time!

Load More