Starved Rock State Park

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: Per State Mandate, Masks are now REQUIRED regardless of immunization status as we are a State facility. This includes all areas of the Lodge, Cafe, Main Dining Doom, Back Door Lounge, Visitor’s Center and Trailheads Concessions.

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 daily from 9:00am to 4:00pm.
The movie theater is open daily.
Closed on Federal Holidays

Free, guided hikes are offered JUNE-NOVEMBER.
Pre-registration is required.
Click here to register.

Please stay on marked trails and follow park rules.
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]

Upcoming Events:
Wildflower Walks with a Naturalist Weekend (last full weekend of April)
Fall Colors Weekend: October 16 & 17, 2021 (free hikes to Starved Rock, French Canyon, Wildcat Canyon and the overlooks.
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)

Click here to learn more about Starved Rock State Park
Click here to learn about Junior Ranger Programs, Guided Tours & more.

Click here to learn more about the Starved Rock Foundation

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Operates all state parks in Illinois, including Starved Rock State Park and neighboring Matthiessen State Park.

Park History

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.


13 Miles of Trails and 18 Canyons Wait Your Discovery

We highly recommend you come back to Starved Rock during different seasons of the year. The entire park, including the canyons and trails, look completely different in the fall and winter than in the spring and summer.

Please stay on marked trails at all times. Take out what you bring in and leave no trace that you were here. There is no swimming, wading or rock climbing allowed in the park. Have fun and hike safely.

Download Printable Map

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is Open Daily from 9am to 4pm

Your Park Adventure Starts Here

Hours & Contact

Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00am to 4:00pm.
The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Public restrooms are open.

The Visitor Center is closed on Federal Holidays.

Starved Rock & Matthiessen State Park
(815) 667-4726
[email protected]

Visitor Center Events

Click here to see the IDNR Calendar of Events


133 Class-A Premium Camp Sites

All camp sites come complete with electricity. The bath house has showers and flush toilets. Aside from the scenic beauty and flourishing wildlife, people enjoy the way the park is laid out with open grassy areas that are conducive to pitching a tent. Most camping slots are outfitted with standard 20-amp plugins, plus a 30-amp camper hookup. A limited number have 50-amp hookups for big travel trailers. Click here to make camping reservations or learn more.

Campground Brochure

Everything you need to know about the campground

Campground Store

Firewood Available 24/7

The campground store hours vary. Hours are currently Friday and Saturday from 3 to 7pm. Firewood vending is available 24-hour/7 (credit & debit cards accepted). The campground store has everything a camper might need: wood, ice, batteries, marshmallows, rain gear. We also have maps, brochures and information on the Starved Rock Lodge area. The Campground Store is located at the Starved Rock Campground, just off Route 71.


Picnic areas are available to the day visitor, with tables and restroom facilities. Eight shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Alcohol is prohibited January 1 through May 31 in the picnic area. Alcohol is always prohibited on the trails. Groups of 25 or more are required to contact the Visitor Center prior to arrival. Please be aware that COVID-19 restrictions may apply.

Asked Questions

Click below to read our commonly asked questions about Starved Rock State Park & Lodge, trails, canyons and the campground.

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