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, there’s so much to do that you’ll come back again and again.
Exploring the majestic bluffs and canyons is the park’s primary attraction, and there are 13 miles of well-marked trails to help you enjoy them.
The trails are open all year, but hikers are urged to exercise extreme caution and to stay on official trails. To keep you oriented, trail maps are located at all trail access points, intersections and points of interest. There are colored posts along the trails, corresponding to colors on the maps, and letter symbols on the trail brochure to further assist you. Finally, yellow dots on trees or posts indicate that you are moving away from the lodge or visitor center, and white dots mean you are returning.
Due to the park’s fragile ecosystem, camping is prohibited in unauthorized areas and all rock climbing, rappelling or scrambling off trails is prohibited. Biking is not allowed on the hiking trails. For your own safety, you must be off the trails by dark. Alcohol is prohibited on all trails.
**Please note that there are no washrooms or drinking water areas on the trails.
Fishing and Boating
Boats may be launched from the west end of the park. Also, paddlewheel boat rides are available.
Boats are not allowed within 600 feet of the dam, as strong currents and powerful undertows can be dangerous.
Catfish, bullhead, white bass, sauger, walleye, carp and crappie may be caught in the Illinois River.
Under no circumstances should you attempt to wade or swim in the river, canyons or from any park shoreline.
Horse rentals are available April through October on Route 71, 1/2 mile west of Route 178. for more information you may contact Starved Rock Stables at 815-667-3026.
Winter ActivitiesCross-country skiing can be enjoyed at nearby Matthiessen State Park. Cross-country ski rentals are available at Matthiessen Dells Area on weekends December through March. Snowmobiling is not allowed anywhere at Starved Rock, but is allowed at the I & M Canal one mile to the north in Utica.
Eagle viewing is a popular winter activity enjoyed by many. Two places to see the eagles are the top of Starved Rock and the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center.
Developed picnic areas are available to the day visitor, with tables, drinking water and restroom facilities. Eight shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Alcohol is prohibited January 1 through May 31 in the picnic area. Alcohol is always prohibited on the trails.
The campground has 133 Class A-Premium campsites, 100 of them reservable, complete with electricity, showers and flush toilets, a separate youth group camping area and a children’s playground. Permits may be obtained from the park office or at the permit booth in the campground area. Seven campsites are accessible for people with disabilities. Reservations are accepted by mail only, please use the form below. Alcohol is prohibited in the campground. There is a camp store open in the campground that sells firewood, ice, soda, and other camping supplies. During firearm deer seasons, the campground will be closed.
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