Situated along the scenic Illinois River, the Starved Rock Visitor Center should be the first stop when visiting the park. The visitor center is open 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM daily (closed Thanksgiving Day, Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and President's Day). Trail maps are available inside the center and in brochure racks outside the building. Park staff will be on hand to explain the trail system and give trail advice. Educational displays inside the center will help acquaint visitors with the park history, geology, flora, and fauna of Starved Rock State Park. Several informational park videos are highly recommended and available upon request in the visitor centers auditorium: In the Shadow of the Rock, Civilian Conservation Corps, Smokey and Friends, and On the Wings of the Wind.
Lisa Sons, Natural Resource Coordinator
Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks
Route 178 and 71
Utica, Il 61373
Guided Tours (school, scout, and special interest groups)
Free guided hikes are available to the public at 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays only, from the third Saturday in June through the second Saturday in November.
School and youth groups may contact the Natural Resource Coordinator about group guided hikes by calling the park office Wednesday through Friday between 9-4 at 1-815-667-4726 or DNR.StarvedRock@illinois.gov. Group hikes are only available on Fridays from September through April and Fridays and Sundays from mid June through mid November. Please note we are unable to accomodate special group hikes on holidays, Mondays-Thursdays, Saturdays, and during special event weekends such as Fall Colors, Haunted Hike, Winter Wilderness, Eagle Watch, and Wildflower Pilgrimage.
Hikes will leave from the Visitor Center. Interpreters will discuss the history, geology, flora, and fauna of the park while hiking to Starved Rock and French Canyon which is a 8/10 of a mile roundtrip hike with two staircases. The hike will take 1 - 1.5 hours to complete.
Please remember all groups including school groups of 25 or more must complete a Group P ermit to be submitted to the park office no later than 2 weeks prior to the date of the visit.
Scout Badge in a Backpack Program
The Starved Rock Visitor Center offers several Girl Scout and Cub Scout backpacks complete with items to help scouts earn the following badges (badges purchased through Boy Scout or Girl Scout Councils-not at the park): Wolf/Birds, Bear/Native American, Webelo/Forester, Brownie/Hiker, Junior/Animal Habitats, and Cadette/Trees. The program is a self guided toolkit the leader and scouts may complete on their own over the course of a day at the park.
Please call the park office Wednesday-Friday, 9-4 at 1-815-667-4726 or email DNR.StarvedRock@illinois.gov to reserve one of the backpacks.
Leaders interested in purchasing further patches for their scouts may visit the "Le Rocher" gift store located by the front desk at the visitor center where they can purchase 3" x 3" patches of Starved Rock. Scouts can feel great about their purchase since all proceeds at the gift store (only this gift store) stay in the park to provide for educational programs, events, signs, and more. The Starved Rock Foundation owns and operates the gift store, and the Badge in a Backpack program is sponsored by the Foundation through gift store proceeds and public donations.
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. Booklets are designed for kids ages 5 and up. Activities within these booklets can be completed using displays/exhibits inside the visitor center and by hiking trails within the park. Bring the completed booklet back before closing and if successfully completed kids will receive an official Starved Rock State Park Jr. Ranger badge.
Click here to review/print copies of the Jr. Ranger booklets:
Starved Rock State Park hosts many special event weekends throughout the year. During special event weekends, visitors can hike with guides to see icefalls, bald eagles, spring wildflowers, beautiful colors of autumn, can learn to kayak, and get up-close and personal with birds of prey. Most special events are free unless otherwise noted. Schedule of Events.
Starved Rock History Information Packet
For detailed information on the legend and history of Starved Rock, check out the Starved Rock History Booklet
. The packet includes information on Starved Rock itself, Illinois River Lock and Dam, the Civilian Conservation Corps, geology, flora, and fauna of the park, and French and Native American history of the park.