dogs on leash




nature trips

wild flowers


kid friendly



trail running


Experience the fun of outdoor adventure at Starved Rock State Park. Whether you enjoy hiking along the nature trails or viewing the many spectacular overlooks along the Illinois River, recreational opportunities abound. From picnicking to fishing to boating, from horseback riding to camping to enjoying winter sports, theres so much to do that youll come back again and again. The backdrop for your activities are 18 canyons formed by glacial meltwater and stream erosion. They slice dramatically through tree-covered, sandstone bluffs for four miles at Starved Rock State Park, which is located along the south side of the Illinois River, one mile south of Utica and midway between the cities of LaSalle-Peru and Ottawa. The park is best known for its fascinating rock formations, primarily St. Peter sandstone, laid down in a huge shallow inland sea more than 425 million years ago and later brought to the surface.

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!

21 days 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.....

1 month ago

Winter hiking. Eagles and frozen waterfalls.

3 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.

6 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

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.

I'm in love with this park

8 months ago

Super easy trail, but one of the most serene ecosystems I've been to in Illinois. There are a few parts where you have to walk stone to stone across the stream, which, now that I think about it, could be difficult for some. The path has been slightly different each time I've walked it. Not many canyons in Illinois so this is a nice place to wander outside of the horizons of soy and corn.

Beautiful hike from the visitor center to Illinois Canyon and back.

The LaSalle waterfall was very nice. Worth a visit.

Well maintained trail but very crowded.

awesome trail!

Nice abs scenic trail. Enjoyed my time hiking with the family. AllTrails is right when they say it's heavily trafficked. A lot of people on the trails and parking lots were full. Still a great hike and worth going I'm sure I'll go back but I'd like to find some lightly trafficked routes for now

9 months ago

This was our first time at Starved Rock and we were able to do a couple trails during our visit, this being one of them. It was me, my wife, our 10 year old and our two boxers. We were there in mid-June (2017), on a weekday, so it wasn't crowded at all, however I heard it can be on the weekends. LaSalle canyon can be accessed from a longer hike, beginning at either of the Starved Rock Park ends, however it's most directly/easily accessed by parking at Parkman's Plain, which is right off of 71. There's a parking lot there with easy access to the river trail. The trail begins in a heavily wooded area by trekking down numerous flights of wooden steps, which ultimately lead you to the river trail. It's a wide, shaded trail that runs along side the river. After going alongside the river for a bit, there are clearly marked signs that indicate where to branch off to see LaSalle canyon. Once you reach the canyon, you'll be swept away by it's beauty. Gorgeous rock formations complete with a waterfall you can stand under or walk behind. The water also flows along the graded canyon floor, creating a natural waterslide. Upon exiting the canyon, you have the option of going a different route along the river trail to continue your exploring, or you can simply go back out the way you came.

This was our first time at Starved Rock and we were able to do a couple trails during our visit, this being one of them. St. Louis canyon is one of the few trails at Starved Rock accessible by it's own designated entry and parking area, as opposed to the majority of trails needing to be accessed from one of the park's far ends. It was me, my wife, our 10 year old and our two boxers. We were there in mid-June (2017), on a weekday, so it wasn't crowded at all. We only saw one other couple while we were there. The hike itself was pretty easy. There's a parking lot down at the trailhead, however the road going to it was closed, I'm guessing due to the asphalt being is such disrepair. We had to park at the top of a hill, outside the gate. Ironically, the most difficult part of the hike was having to walk down and up the asphalt roadway to the trailhead. The trail itself was easily maneuvered by my clan. There were some really nice canyon features, walls and rocks to climb in and on. And of course a beautiful waterfall that flowed into a shallow pool.

Great easy hike - especially for families. Several crossings of a shallow creek so you may get wet feet. Great views of the dells.

Nice hike, but LOTS of people on Memorial Day Weekend. If you're looking to enjoy nature consider a day with fewer crowds.

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