Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

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.

10 days 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
11 days 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

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
2 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
3 months ago

Winter hiking. Eagles and frozen waterfalls.

hiking
5 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.

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

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.

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.

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

Pretty trail but terrible culture. Huge groups of frat boys blaring music throughout the woods. One guy wheeled out an industrial speaker and was blasting music so loud you would not imagine. Will not return to this circus of a trail.

Nice trails and area to spend the day. Trails are well maintained. Gets crowded. Some areas on trails not well marked, but no way to get lost.

Get there early to avoid the crowds!

I hiked part of this trail a few years ago. There was a road that goes down to maybe the last quarter or so of the trail as it appears here on the map. Half of the road was closed but if you parked at the top of the hill it was around a one mile round trip easy hike.

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