Explore the most popular birding trails in Starved Rock State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

15 days ago

My favorite of the Starved Rock trails

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.

Easy but decent number of stairs. Beautiful waterfall

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.

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

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.

Walked this with the kiddos for Mother’s Day and my 4 & 5 year olds had no problem walking this trail! Lots to see visually and the smells of nature and flowers blooming, the trees to hits a nature lover right in the feels! Great place to spend an afternoon.

The views would be better if the park took care to trim the trees but that being said the feeling of peace is epic up there!

1 month ago

Lots of beautiful foliage, flowers and plants blooming right now and the greenery is heavenly right now! We were lucky enough to experience a light shower with thunder rolling and the Canopy of trees was already thick enough to buffer the raindrops. I just wish the trail was a bit cleaner in spots, there’s lots of garbage that needs to be picked up near the river.

Easy peasey. Some stairs an alright overlook. Trees need to be trimmed in some parts of the lookout for a better view.

backpacking
1 month ago

Definitely a must when visiting Starved Rock. Although the furthest trail from the Lodge and Visitor Center it provides an escape from the noisy and busy trails and lets you experience Starved Rock as it should be, while also being one of the best waterfalls and canyons in the Park. If you’re not up for the long hike from the Visitor Center, hop in your car and take Route 71 all the way down where there’s a parking lot that will lead you straight on to the trailhead!

Great flat trail.

Beautiful!!! Worth the 7 hour drive.

i went on a monday in the early afternoon and even got to participate in a park clean-up! recommend on off-peak times, as this is a popular day trip for city slickers like me!

It was very nice. I recommend going in the morning, after 12:00pm the trail gets too busy. Very pleasant trail

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

hiking
2 months 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!

hiking
3 months 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
4 months ago

Winter hiking. Eagles and frozen waterfalls.

hiking
6 months ago

Love it! I plan to come back in winter time.

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.

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