Voted the #1 Attraction in the State of Illinois
Starved Rock State Park is a world apart from anything else in Illinois! 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, boating, extraordinary views and great places to relax.
Starved Rock State Park is open daily from 7:00am to sunset.
The Visitor Center is open from 9:00AM to 4:00PM on weekdays.
The Visitor Center is closed on weekends, but public restrooms are open.
Closed on federal holidays.
Free Park tours are offered every Saturday & Sunday through May 23. Pre-registration is required.
Departure time is 8:30am from the Visitor Center. Click here to register.
Please stay on marked trails follow park rules and state rules for social distancing.
Click Here to see the TRAIL MAP
To request free guided tours, scout programs, and school field trips,
please email Lisa Sons, Natural Resource Coordinator at: [email protected]
Wildflower Walks with a Naturalist Weekend (last full weekend of April)
Fall Colors Weekend (3rd weekend in October)
Ghosts of Starved Rock’s Past (last Saturday in October)
Starved Rock Photography Show (December)
Eagle Watch Weekend (January)
Night Hikes (Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice & Fall Equinox)
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.
The Visitor Center is Open Weekdays 9am to 4pm
Visitor Center Events