Voted the #1 Attraction in the State of Illinois
Starved Rock State Park is a world apart from anything else in Illinois! You will know it the minute you enter the park, as you wind your car through the towering trees. Amazing seasonal waterfalls are active in the spring and after heavy rains. We have 13 miles of trails to explore and the Illinois River offers fishing (ice fishing, too), boating, extraordinary views and great places to relax.
The park derives its name from a Native American legend. In the 1760s, Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa tribe, was attending a tribal council meeting. At this council of the Illinois and the Pottawatomie, an Illinois-Peoria brave stabbed Chief Pontiac. Vengeance arose in Pontiac’s followers. A great battle started. The Illinois, fearing death, took refuge on the great rock. After many days, the remaining Illinois died of starvation giving this historic park its name – Starved Rock.
In 1835, Daniel Hitt purchased the land that is today occupied by Starved Rock State Park from the United States Government, as compensation for his tenure in the U.S. Army. He sold the land in 1890 to Ferdinand Walther and developed the land for vacationers. He built a hotel, dance pavilion and swimming area. In 1911, the State of Illinois purchased the site, making it the state’s first recreational park. In the 1930′s the Civilian Conservation Corps placed three camps at Starved Rock State Park and began building the Lodge and trail systems that you can now witness here at the Park.
In 1966, Starved Rock State Park was named a National Historic Landmark. Starved Rock State Park’s Lodge and Cabins were listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on May 8, 1985 as part of the Illinois State Park Lodges and Cabins Thematic Resources Multiple Property Submission.
Visitor Center Events
– Winter Solstice Sunset Hike* (at capacity and no longer accepting registrations)
– Winter Wilderness Weekend (second week of January)
– Eagle Watch Weekend (last weekend of January)
– Wildflower Pilgrimage (last weekend of April)
– Spring Equinox Night Hike* (at capacity and no longer accepting registrations)
– Memorial Day Hike at 9:30 a.m.
– National Trails Day Celebration (1st Saturday of June)
– July 4th Hike at 9:30 a.m.
– Summer Solstice Night Hike* (at capacity and no longer accepting registrations)
– Labor Day Hike at 9:30 a.m.
– Fall Colors Weekend (3rd weekend of October)
– Haunted Hike “Ghosts of Starved Rock’s Past” (last Saturday of October)* (at capacity and no longer accepting registrations)
– Fall Equinox Night Hike* (at capacity and no longer accepting registrations)
*Pre-registration required by emailing [email protected]