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Starved Rock Activities

We hope you enjoy your stay. 

Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.​​

Visitor Center- Open M-F from 9-12.  Closed Weekends and Holidays. 

The visitor center offers displays and exhibits explaining the park’s cultural and natural history.  Masks are required to enter any park building at this time, including the restrooms.  A weekly schedule of activities is posted under the EVENTS tab. The Visitor Center is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Presidents Day, as well as weekends. 

Schools, Youth Groups such as Scouts, families, homeschool educators, teachers, and other organized groups may arrange reservations for Virtual Visit with a Naturalist program, Starved Rock Saplings seasonal educational packets, field trips, guided tours, and the Scout Badge in a Backpack program, and more  by viewing the Interpretive tab for program and scheduling information. 

Jr. Ranger Program 
Hey, kids!  Starved Rock now has a Jr. Ranger program!  Jr. Ranger booklets are available to pick-up at the Starved Rock Visitor Center during regular operational hours or you may print off your own below.  Booklets are designed for kids ages 5 through 13.  Activities within these booklets can be completed using displays and exhibits inside the visitor center and by hiking trails within the park.  Bring the completed booklet back before closing or mail the booklet to the park office at Starved Rock State Park, PO Box 509, Utica, IL 61373, Attention: Natural Resource Coordinator.  Please provide a self addressed envelope.  Those who have completed the requirements for the Junior Ranger program will receive a Junior Ranger badge (pledge on site and in person with a ranger), and a prize.
 

Activity Permits

Groups or individuals who want to conduct a special activity on DNR managed site(s) or groups of 25 more people must complete an activity permit along with liability insurance or liability waivers to be submitted to the site for approval at least 21 days prior to the date of the activity.  This permit is approved by the site as well as the IDNR headquarters in Springfield.  This is not a permit for the selling of items or for any activity covered by other Department permits.  Please read through the following permit carefully to ensure you have completed it in full before submitting to DNR.StarvedRock@illinois.gov. Please note activities cannot block any trails, shelters, or spaces to the public and must follow park rules and regulations (cannot go off trail, wade or swim in waterfalls, or climb rocks and canyon walls).

Activity.Permit to Sell_8.8.19_fillable.pdf

Filming Permit

Guided Tours 

Visitors are more than welcome to hike on their own, but for those who would like a guided hike or tour where they can discover the rich history, geology, flora, and fauna of the park with the Natural Resource Coordinator, or Volunteer Park Naturalists, can view park events and tours at http://starvedrockstatepark_programs.eventbrite.com
All tours and events are FREE.  All hikers must wear a mask at this time while on the guided tour.  

Hiking

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 from 7 a.m. until sunset.  Hikers must 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 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. 
  • At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
  • Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities.
  • Ground fires outside of the designated campfire rings at the campground are prohibited at both parks and along trails. 
  • Dogs are allowed at the park as long as they are kept on a leash, their owners pick up after them and dispose of waste in trash cans, and provide them adequate water while on the trail.
  • 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.  
  • Drones are prohibited in all areas of the park. 
  • Swimming along is prohibited and dangerous. 
  • In case of an accident or emergency, please CALL 911. (Not the park office)

Trail Suggestions

Trail Videos

Visitors to Starved Rock State Park can now take a guided hike on the park’s most popular trails by using this new smartphone app. Download the Prairie State Hike App for just 99 cents.

 


Fishing and Boating

Boats may be launched from the west end of the park. 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.

Kayaking

Kayak rentals at Starved Rock are operated by a private concessionaire-Kayak Starved Rock.  Kayaking typically begins in May and lasts through September.  Please open the brochure below to contact the Kayak Starved Rock for further information.

Click here for kayak rentals

Hunting
Check the IDNR website for Hunter Fact Sheets for hunting programs at Starved Rock, including deer, wild turkey, dove, waterfowl, squirrel and furbearer programs. For more information, please review the Hunter Fact Sheet.  Please call 1-815-667-4726 for hunting updates or trail closures during the hunting season. 

Winter Activities
Cross-country skiing can be enjoyed at nearby Matthiessen State Park. Cross-country ski rentals are available through a private concessionaire on weekends only when there is enough snow in the area.  Please check Utica or Oglesby weather forecasts before heading out.  Snowmobiling is not allowed anywhere at Starved Rock or Matthiessen State Parks.  Please contact the "Do It, To It" Ski Shop directly for hours of operation (private concessionaire not operated by the state park) at 815-343-9014 or 815-343-7125.  

Bald Eagle Viewing
During winter months, bald eagles flock to Starved Rock in search of fish in the open water by the dam.  What are the best spots in the park for eagle viewing?   Visitors can hike to any of the following locations to view eagles at the park: Starved Rock, Lovers Leap Overlook,  Eagle Cliff Overlook, or along the sea wall of the Illinois River by the Starved Rock Visitor Center.   

Ice Climbing is allowed at the park.  Climbers must bring their own equipment and have experience ice climbing.  Ice climbers climb at their own risk.  Plese view the Ice Climbing Brochure for further information, rules, and regulations.       Starved Rock Ice Climbing.pdf

Picnicking
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.

Camping 

IDNR Camping Guidelines During COVID 
These guidelines apply to recreational camping on all public campsites within Illinois and are applicable to each region upon transition to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan.
• If campers are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 they should not attempt to stay at the campground
• All campers are encouraged to reserve camping online prior to arrival through www.reserveamerica.com
• Campers assume personal responsibility and should abide by set guidelines
• No overnight group or youth camps will be permitted
• Normal park hours resume and are posted site specific
• All walk-in campers are encouraged to have exact change or a check for the payment of their campsite at the time of their arrival
Safety and Cleansing Precautions:
• All sites will be required to have a “Silent Host Box” for cash or checks, OR a protective barrier at all times to ensure a contactless transaction
• All campground hosts must wear a facemask covering their nose and mouth when handling a transaction or dealing with the public on any issue
• Campground hosts will be required to sanitize or wash their hands after every transaction
• Social distancing measures of 6 feet remain in effect and should be observed
• Campers are encouraged to use any self-contained restroom in their own camper for restroom or shower use
• Showers are available as social distancing/spacing permits; site by site guidelines may vary. Bathers should bring their own sandals to avoid direct contact with the floor
• Restrooms and shower houses will be cleaned and checked twice daily
For More Information:
• All campers are encouraged to visit www.cdc.gov/family/camping for updated best camping practices
• Please refer to the DCEO guidelines for private campground restrictions which may differ from IDNR 
*Campsite capacity cannot exceed 10 people.
*Per IDPH guidelines, no site may have a gathering of 50 persons or more; gathering sizes may be further limited by site size and ability to maintain social distancing guidelines.

Social Distancing
  • 6 ft Social Distancing
  • 6 ft Social Distancing Protective Gear
  • Face Coverings to be worn except for children <2 years old when 6’ social distancing cannot be maintained or in an indoor area. Campers will follow all IDPH guidelines regarding PPE and additional best healthy practices
  • Face Coverings to be worn except for children <2 years old when 6’ social distancing cannot be maintained or in an indoor area. Campers will follow all IDPH guidelines regarding PPE and additional best healthy practices Hygiene Requirements
  • Personal sanitization materials should be brought with you. Barriers may be temporarily erected where needed.
  • Personal sanitization materials should be brought with you. Barriers may be temporarily erected where necessary. Access to Establishments
  • Limited re-opening of concession amenities and lodges (sleeping amenities). Carry out orders for food with potential for limited outdoor seating.
  • Limited re-opening of concession amenities and lodges (sleeping amenities). Restaurants/Bars may operate consistent with DCEO guidelines. Disinfecting/Cleaning Procedures
  • Follow guidelines set by CDC
  • Follow guidelines set by CDC
Starved Rock's campground has 129 Class-A Premium campsites.   All sites are available for reservation. Reservations are made on-line at reserveamerica.com Reservations for regular campsites and youth group sites require a $5.00 non-refundable reservation fee and payment of the full camping and utility fees at the time the reservation is made.  Please contact the Visitor Center at 1-815-667-4906 to make Youth Group Reservations.  The camping fee for a regular campsite is $25.00 per night unless it is a holiday at which time the campsite fee is $35.00. Alcohol is ALWAYS prohibited in the campground. There is a camp store in the campground that operates seasonally (Usually May 1-Oct. 31) that sells firewood, ice, soda and other camping supplies. Any firewood purchased in LaSalle County cannot leave the county due to the spread of the Gypsy Moth.  During firearm deer seasons, the campground will be closed. The campground gates are opened from 8:30 am until 10:00 pm.  Campground Brochure and Map.pdf

Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center 
The Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center is operated by a private concessionaire.  Please visit https://www.starvedrocklodge.com to view information on dining, lodging, tours, and more. 

Surrounding Area
To find local attractions and restaurants, please visit www.enjoylasallecounty.com or contact the Heritage Corridor Tourism Bureau at http://heritagecorridorcvb.com/

Directions
I-39 southbound: South to I-80 east (exit #59). Go 2 miles to exit #81 (Rt. 178, Utica). Go south (right) 3 miles on Rt. 178 and follow the signs into the Park.
I-39 northbound: North to Exit #48 (Tonica exit). Go east (right) for approximately 5 miles to the T-intersection, which is Rt. 178. Go north (left) for approximately 5 miles and follow the signs into the Park.
I-80 Eastbound and Westbound: Get off at exit #81 (Rt.178, Utica). Go south 3 miles on Rt. 178 and follow the signs into the Park.
From the Chicago area: Take I-294 or I-355 south to I-55. Take I-55 south to I-80. Go west on I-80, 45 miles to Exit #81 (Rt. 178, Utica). Go south (left) 3 miles on Rt. 178 and follow the signs into the Park.
While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.