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Starved Rock Natural Resource Coordinator

Lisa SonsNatural Resource Coordinator     
Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks
2678 N. Route 178
PO Box 509
Utica, Il 61373
Ph:  815-667-5356

Visitor Center 
Situated along the scenic Illinois River, the Starved Rock Visitor Center should be the first stop when visiting the park.   Park staff and volunteers will be on hand to explain the trail system and give trail advice.   

The visitor center is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed on weekends and the following holidays:  Thanksgiving, day after Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day, Martin Luther King Jr Day, Presidents Day, and Lincolns Birthday.  

Trail maps are available inside the visitor center, in brochure racks outside of the building by the front and back doors, at every trail intersection, and ever parking lot at the park. 

Educational displays inside the center will help acquaint visitors with the 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 (Currently unavailable under COVID):  

In the Shadow of the Rock
Civilian Conservation Corps
Smokey and Friends
On the Wings of the Wind 
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, of Volunteer Park Naturalists, can view upcoming park events and tours at http://starvedrockstatepark_programs.eventbrite.com .  All tours, programs, and events through the state park (IDNR) are FREE.

starved rock state park tours may 2021.jpg

School Field Trip Educational Packets (Pre-Visit, Visit, and Post-Visit Activities)

First through Third Grade Field Trip Packet.pdf

Fourth through Sixth Grade Field Trip Packet.pdf

School Field Trips.jpg

Starved Rock Saplings -New online family program!

New seasonal online program that families can utilize at at home, in their neighborhood, or at a local state park such as Starved Rock State Park.  Starved Rock Sapling packets will be added each season during the months of October, January, April, and July.  Have fun and happy trails!

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Scout Badge in a Backpack Program (Currently Unavailable under COVID)

The Starved Rock Visitor Center offers several Girl Scout and Cub Scout backpacks.  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. 

  • Wolf/Birds
  • Bear/Native American
  • Webelo/Forester
  • Brownie/Hiker
  • Junior/Animal Habitats
  • Cadette/Trees 

Please email DNR.StarvedRock@illinois.gov to reserve one of the backpacks, or stop in at the visitor center's front desk during operational hours.  

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 Le Rocher Gift Store stay in the park to provide for educational programs, events, exhibits, and more.  The Starved Rock Foundation, the park's non for profit friends group 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-Badges
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 downloaded below and printed at home.  Booklets are designed for kids ages 5 through 13.  Activities within these booklets can be completed using displays and exhibits inside of the visitor center, and by hiking trails within the park.  Completed booklets can be turned in to the front desk at the vistior center before closing, or mailed to Starved Rock State Park, Natural Resource Coordinator, PO Box 509, Utica, IL 61373 with a self addressed envelope.   Those who successfully complete the Junior Ranger booklet requirements will receive a Junior Ranger badge and prize!

Click here to review/print copies of the Jr. Ranger booklets:
Special Events
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, and the beautiful colors of autumn.  All state programs and events through the INDR are FREE.  
Photo Gallery
Be sure to plan a trip to Starved Rock at least once during each season.  Each season brings something new to Starved Rock…icefalls and eagles in winter, wildflowers in spring, wildlife in early summer, and amazing colors in the autumn.  Check out the accompanying photographs taken here at Starved Rock.
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.