Starved Rock is a popular Illinois State Park approximately two hours southwest of Chicago, in Oglesby, IL. The park borders the Illinois River and has an important Native American history. Inside Starved Rock you will find 18 canyons, 13 miles of hiking trails, and waterfalls during certain (spring) seasons. The hiking trails are dog friendly, and there are many other things to do while visiting this park in the middle of nowhere.
How to Get to Starved Rock State Park
Address: 2668 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348
Travel west on I-80 from Indiana, or Chicagoland, and exit on E 8th Road. Head south through Utica, and cross the Illinois River. Starved Rock will be on the east side of the street. You can park near the visitors center, or the St. Louis Canyon Trailhead. To get to the opposite side of the park, head east on Route 71 to find a few other parking areas.
Things to Do at Starved Rock State Park
- Walk your dog
- 13 miles of hiking trails
- Ice climbing
- Guided tours
Most of the natural trails run parallel to the Illinois River. There are at least five potential parking areas. Some are in the middle of the park, and the others bookend the trails. You will find several overlooks on the west side near the river, including Starved Rock itself – the area where a group of Illini supposedly starved to death after being attacked and trapped.
Most of these dog friendly trails are very short, but the total potential distance is at least 13 miles. No matter which trail you choose, you will find yourself near one of Starved Rocks 18 canyons. Waterfalls flow inside these canyons during springtime after it has been raining. However, you must hike to each canyon because biking is not permitted.
The boat ramp and lodge are on the west side of Starved Rock near Route 178. You may boat, paddle, or kayak, but you cannot swim. Campgrounds are in the center of the park near Route 71. If you fish, you may catch catfish, walleye, bass and other fish in the river. Trails are open from 6:30am until sundown.
Number 1 Attraction in Illinois
Starved Rock is known as a place where “uncommon beauty abounds in Illinois”. Being a former resident of the state, I can confirm the truth of that statement. The state park is a great sight in comparison to the farmlands of the country, or the high rises in Chicago.
Drive an hour in any direction from Starved Rock and you will be seemingly nowhere. The state park is surrounded by several large cities including Peoria, Bloomington, Rockford and the suburbs of Chicago. However, each of them are more than 60 miles away. No matter where you live, this park is worth a visit and will be a true escape from the norm.
Other Parks to Visit Near Starved Rock
- Matthiessen State Park
- Margery C. Carlson Nature Preserve
- Buffalo Rock State Park