Travel Guide: Starved Rock | chicago foodie girl


Travel Guide: Starved Rock

As promised on Monday... Starved Rock!

For those of you who live in more interesting/hiking-friendly areas (i.e. not the Midwest), Starved Rock may not be too exciting, but for those of us who live in either the urban jungle (Chicago) or on flat farmland (the rest of Illinois), it is quite an awesome place to visit. Not only can you get a serious cardio workout, but it's also a really beautiful area. There are miles and miles of trails that lead to random waterfalls and cool rock formations - it's amazing that such a place exists less than two hours from Chicago! Before I discovered Starved Rock, I didn't think there were any really great places to hike in Illinois (I was mostly heading up to WI or over to MI to get my hiking fix).

I would love to go back during the winter to see the frozen waterfalls (click on each trail to see photos), but I have to admit that I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to sliding around on the ice. :-)

French Canyon: It's the easiest waterfall to hike to, which also makes it one of the most popular/crowded. However, it's a really gorgeous little area - one of the most scenic areas in the park and definitely worth fighting through the crowds!

One of my favorite rock formations - I named him Jabba Rock :-)

Wildcat Canyon: The largest drop in the park (125 ft!). There are three views of this waterfall - most people consider the prettiest one to be at the bottom, but it does involve a climb down a very steep set of stairs (quite a few people have fallen to their deaths in this canyon). While the view from the bottom is stunning, I also really love the view from the East - it almost feels like you're on a tropical island and not in the middle of IL.

We spent quite a bit of time contemplating whether or not this was carved. It was quite deep in the woods though, which made us decide that it wasn't... maybe. :-)

Nipple log! HA! (Yes, I'm that immature) :-P

Gettin' my hike on! :-)



  1. Wow. AMAZING!!! I'd love to get my hike on there. So incredible.

    You should link up with Alissa at -- she does a Friday 5 every week... I'm sure she'd love to send you the next few assignments if you are a scheduled-post-writer. (I am on occasion, but not lately) This post would actually sort of work for today's theme!

  2. The French Canyon looks incredible!

  3. @Kelli: Yeah, I've been thinking about that - I'm just so terrible with keeping up with scheduled theme posts!

    You should definitely think about taking a road trip to Starved Rock when your kids get a little older. There are so many camping options, both in the park and in the surrounding area (there are also cabins in the park if you don't want to full on camp). It's such a beautiful area and there are quite a few easy kid-friendly trails that lead to waterfalls & cool rock formations.

    @Jenny: There are some nicer falls in the park, but I have a soft spot for the French Canyon. :-)

  4. That nipple log is the greatest thing ever! haha!

  5. @Nichole: I'm so glad I'm not the only one who appreciates the nipple log! It's just too awesome. :-)

  6. My husband and I went there last year and loved it!


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