If Illinois had to boast of some of its best places, Starved Rock State Park would definitely be topping the list! This park is located southwest of the village of North Utica in Deer Park Township at LaSalle County, Illinois. Starved Rock State Park overlooks the Illinois River as it sits along the south bank of the river.
The sprawling 2360 acres is overflowing with beauty and includes many canyons, hiking trails, camping grounds, waterfalls and amazing views. Starved Rock State Park offers excellent lodging facilities and food for visitors. It is not a wonder that the park has millions of visitors in year; the recorded attendance reached 2,197,267 people in the year 2010!
Whether you want to explore the age old history of the park or spend your time hiking or simply basking in the beauty of the place it is all up to you.
The butte area that came to be known as Starved Rock was assigned to be a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1960.
Starved Rock State Park Location
This park is located near I-80 and I-39 in Utica, Illinois.
The Starved Rock State Park can be reached via I-39 southbound, I-39 northbound, I-80 Eastbound and Westbound.
Those taking I-39 southbound are to drive south to I-80 east to exit #59. Drive 2 miles further to exit#81 and take south (right). Go 3 miles on Rt. 178 and follow the signs that lead you to the park.
From I-39 northbound take Exit#48 to Tonica exit. Drive 5 miles taking east (right) till you reach T-intersection or Rt. 178. Thereafter keep going north (left) for 5 miles again and follow the signs to the Park.
From I-80 Eastbound and Westbound, you need to get off at exit #81(Rt. 178, Utica). Thereafter go south for 3 miles on Rt. 178 and follow the signs to the Park.
Those coming from the Chicago area are recommended to take I-294 or I-355 south to I-55.
For more information and Starved Rock State Park maps, please log onto the official website.
Starved Rock State Park History and Archaeological Sites
The area of the Starved Rock State Park has a startling history dating back to 8000 B.C! Archaeological surveys and discoveries show significant traces of early American Indian settlements (8000-2000 BC) along the Illinois River. A major part of the top of the rock has revealed that the landmark to have witnessed almost 5000 years of human use and inhabitance.
Several copper Clovis points have been unearthed in the park. It is believed that these parts are of the spears that belonged to prehistoric people who relied on hunting for survival.
The Kaskaskia were one of the earliest inhabitants that lived in the north side of the Illinois River. This group had a large settlement that was known as the Grand Village of the Illinois. Historical records reveal that the Kaskaskia tribe was eliminated by the raid of Iroquois settlers who arrived in north Illinois in 1660. The remains of village of the Kaskaskia was first discovered by the French; the remains comprised of 74 cabins that were made using long loaf-shaped wigwams and reed mat coverings.
The Hotel Plaza site is one such site with an ancient history of inhabitance. This site located several hundred feet east and down slope of the Starved Rock Park Lodge, was discovered by excavations in 1948. Excavations reveal that prehistoric Indians occupied the area during the early 17th and 18th centuries.
The Corbin farm happens to be another historical site that disclosed Late Woodland Period settlements.
The Little Beaver and Shaky shelter are some of the other archaeological sites that provide that bring light on ancient history and settlements as well as the sedentary lifestyles of the prehistoric villagers of the area.
Starved Rock State Park Hiking and Trails
Starved Rock State Park is entirely ideal for hiking. There are almost 13 miles of well marked hiking trails that are well suited for different skill levels including beginners.
The scenic beauty of the park reaches its zenith during the different seasons of the year.
It is possible for hikers to get a view of the waterfalls in 14 of the 18 canyons. However, some of the most picturesque waterfalls of the area can be found in Wild Cat, St. Louis, Ottawa, Tonty and Kaskaskia canyons.
The trails are generally open throughout the year. Hikers are strictly recommended to stay on official trails. As such trail maps are located at each and every trail access points, intersections and points of interest.
Hikers are also recommended to first figure out what they really want to see before starting the hike and then choose the trail accordingly. Lastly the hikers are instructed to carry reusable water bottles, small backpacks, walking sticks, insect repellant, medicine and of course a camera.
At Starved Rock State Park you are in for an amazing hiking experience that you will never forget!
Starved Rock State Park Trail Maps
Trail maps come very handy while hiking to find your way around Starved Rock State Park. You can grab the trail maps at the information desk either at the Lodge or the Visitor Center.
Starved Rock State Park Camping
*camp grounds near Starved Rock State Park
*camping near Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park Dining
One can look forward to a wonderful dining experience at Starved Rock Park.
The Main Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all year through. Visitors can enjoy a variety of meals at this classic pine and log Lodge dating back to the early 1930s. Main Dining Room is famous for its special Sunday Brunch that one cannot afford to miss! Moreover, the place also serves Holiday Buffets on Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
Main Dining Room Hours are as follows:
Breakfast: 8:00 a.m.-10:45 a.m.
Lunch: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Dinner: 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday
Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. -10:45 a.m.
Lunch: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Dinner: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Breakfast: 8:00 a.m.- 9:30 a.m.
Brunch: 10:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Dinner-5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Lodges and Cabins near Starved Rock State Park
The cabins and lodges at the park promise visitors nothing less than a great stay!
Starved Rock Lodge and Cabins
The historic Starved Rock Lodge and Cabins dates back to the early years of 1933-1939. This outstanding hotel boasts of superior architecture along with excellent amenities and entertainment. World class amenities include a 26′x 54′ pool, children’s pool, sauna, hot tub and poolside tables too!
There are a total of 70 guest rooms in the lodge; this also includes several bay-window rooms.
This hotel has 13 cabins that are open throughout the year.
These cabins are situated off the area of the indoor pool. Each cabin has four individual guest rooms.
These cabins offer excellent amenities including heat/air conditioning, flatscreen televisions, WiFi and indoor plumbing.
Two Room Pioneer cabins
For a more secluded and cozy stay visitor can choose from the 5 two room pioneer cabins tucked away in the woods. Each cabin can accommodate up to 5 guests. These cabins are at a distance of about 150 yards from the main Lodge.
For more information please log onto the official website.
Starved Rock State Park Amenities
The breathtaking beauty and grandeur of Starved Rock makes this place perfect for exchanging your vows. This place has everything to make your dream wedding come true exactly how you have always imagined!
Parties and Meetings
Whether it’s an official meeting, holiday party, baby shower or anniversary celebration, starved Rock Lodge offers everything to make every occasion memorable.
It is difficult to meet the quality standards of this place on grounds of the exceptional service and food that it offers to the guests. The tranquility of the picturesque setting is again a cherry topping on the cake!
Experience nature at its best at Starved Rock State Park and take home the best of memories with your family and loved ones.
Starved Rock State Park
Official website: http://www.