You’re Invited to Oktoberfest at Starved Rock Lodge

August 10, 2023

Even though you don’t want summer to end, there’s a certain joy in hearing that we’re now accepting reservations for our Oktoberfest celebrations. The menu has been created by our Chefs, the ceramic steins arrived yesterday, the German Band has been booked and we are ready to welcome you to this annual, fun-filled event in the historic Great Hall and Starved Rock Room.

Imagine the steaming chafing dishes filled with Sauerbratin, Weinerschnitzel, Bratwurst and Sauerkraut!
German comfort food is included in the buffet, which features everything from Kasespatzle to Gurkensalat. For dessert, enjoy Black Forest Cake and Apple Strudel along with Mohnkuchen (German Poppyseed Cake). Complete your experience with a Pilsner, Lager or Stout. If you are more of a wine lover, then try a Reisling or Gewurstraminer.

The first of three Oktoberfest events will be a dinner on Sunday, October 15th, which begins at 5pm. German music will fill the air and German beer and wine will be served. Matinees will take place on Monday, October 16th and Tuesday, October 17th. The fall colors will be the backdrop outside the windows as you relax in the Great Hall while you enjoy music played by the Duseldorfers band. If you have the strength, sign up for the “Stein Hoisting” contest. Tickets for Oktoberfest are $60 and include the delicious buffet, a souvenir stein and tasting tickets (must be 21 or older) for beer or wine and musical entertainment. Tickets for the Buffet only are $45 per person.

If you’d like to enhance your autumn adventure, consider adding a river cruise or guided hike during the most colorful month of the year.

Autumn on the River Cruises run Monday, Wednesday and Fridays in October from 11am – 3pm. Tickets are $58 person. This tour begins with lunch at 11am in the historic dining room at the Lodge, followed by a narrated trolley tour explaining the history and legends of the area. The trolley will then take you to “The Eagle I” river boat where you will see the beautiful fall foliage of the Starved Rock State Park area by water. There are restrooms available throughout the tour and minimal walking is involved. 

Historic Trolley Tours run on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays & Saturdays in October from 3pm-4:30pm as well as on Sundays at with departures at 12 & 1: 30pm. Tickets are $18 for adults. Seniors: $15, Children 10 & under: $13, Children 3 and under: Free. On this tour, you’ll learn about the National Historic Landmark known as Starved Rock State Park and Lodge. Travel to the Lock and Dam, the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center and through historic downtown Utica. You’ll also get to tour the Starved Rock Visitor center.

Fall Colors Trolley Tours run on Saturdays and Tuesdays in October. Tickets are $38 per person. This tour includes a trolley ride with lunch in our restaurant (special menu) followed by a guided hike (about 45 minutes) to scenic Council Overhang and Ottawa Canyon. Lunch will be before or after the tour, depending on the tour’s departure time.

Take a Hike & a Lunch Guided Hikes run every Saturday and Sunday through November. Depart at 10am and return at 2pm. Tickets are $25 per person. Explore Starved Rock and discover canyons, bluffs and seasonal waterfalls on this 3-mile (round trip) guided hike. Listen as the guide tells stories of how Starved Rock got its name along with other legends of the area. Break for lunch at the halfway point.  Lunch includes your choice of turkey, ham or veggie wrap, snacks and bottled water.  Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Hike will vary upon group skill and trail conditions.  A boxed lunch and souvenir drawstring backpack are included.

Visit a Canyon & a Boat Ride is October’s premier tour, departing every Sunday at 11am. Board a trolley with a guide and head to the entrance of one of Starved Rock’s most scenic canyons. The walk is less than a mile and takes about 45 minutes. Following the hike, relax with a boat ride on the picturesque Illinois River. A snack, bottle of water and souvenir drawstring backpack are included. Canyon chosen may vary, depending on weather, river and trail conditions. Tickets are $53 for adults, and $48 for children (10 and under).

Waterfowl Cruises depart every Sunday in October at 1pm.  Tickets are $35 per person. Board a trolley outside of the Great Hall of the Lodge. The Trolley takes you to Lone Point Shelter to enjoy an hour-long boat ride on The Eagle I where you will get to see the Waterfowl of the Illinois River. The Trolley will return you to the Lodge.

Advanced reservations for special events and tours. Call our Activities Department at 815-220-7386 or get tickets online at:

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