Starved Rock Hike

La Salle, Illinois

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1 Review
5 out of 5
The leafy canyons of Starved Rock are a unique geological treasure, a vertical landscape usually reserved for the American Southwest. Imagine the iconic slot canyons of northern Arizona, but covered with verdant Midwestern hardwoods and laced with whispering waterfalls. There is truly no landscape quite like Starved Rock anywhere else in the United States, and this meandering 4.6-mile hike showcases the most dramatic of the park’s eighteen canyons just south of the Illinois River. Attracting more than two million visitors a year, Starved Rock State Park is one of the most popular outdoor recreation sites in the state, complete with a sprawling visitor center, eateries, gift shops, and facilities for camping, horseback riding, boating, and winter sports. And yet, it doesn’t feel like a tourist trap. The amenities still feel quaint, and if you visit during the week, early in the morning, or during the off-season (i.e., not summer), you won’t run into crowds on the trails. If you can only hike one trail in the greater Chicago area, make it this one, even if it’s a bit farther from the city.

Starved Rock Hike Professional Review and Guide

"The leafy canyons of Starved Rock are a unique geological treasure, a vertical landscape usually reserved for the American Southwest. Imagine the iconic slot canyons of northern Arizona, but covered with verdant Midwestern hardwoods and laced with whispering waterfalls. There is truly no landscape quite like Starved Rock anywhere else in the United States, and this meandering 4.6-mile hike showcases the most dramatic of the park’s eighteen canyons just south of the Illinois River. Attracting more than two million visitors a year, Starved Rock State Park is one of the most popular outdoor recreation sites in the state, complete with a sprawling visitor center, eateries, gift shops, and facilities for camping, horseback riding, boating, and winter sports. And yet, it doesn’t feel like a tourist trap. The amenities still feel quaint, and if you visit during the week, early in the morning, or during the off-season (i.e., not summer), you won’t run into crowds on the trails. If you can only hike one trail in the greater Chicago area, make it this one, even if it’s a bit farther from the city."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: La Salle
Distance: 4.6
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 2.5 hours
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Starved Rock State Park
Local Maps: USGS: Starved Rock, IL
Driving Directions: Directions to Starved Rock Hike

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11/4/2017
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May 2018