Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The obvious question is, why is it called Starved Rock? The answer is found only in legend. The park’s name originated from a Native American legend about murder and revenge. When the great Ottawa chief Pontiac was murdered in 1769, his death was avenged by battles between area tribes. During one battle, a group of Illiniwek sought refuge on top of a 125-foot sandstone butte. Opposing tribes surrounded the bluff. The legend says the proud Illini warriors preferred to starve rather than surrender.

Today, when you visit Starved Rock in La Salle County, Illinois, less than 100 miles from downtown Chicago, you’ll find a surprisingly beautiful woodland oasis. The park features 13 miles of trails that lead to 18 canyons and to the summit of the park’s namesake, Starved Rock. Visit during snow-melt or after rainfall and you’ll see picturesque waterfalls in the canyons. On a dry day you can hike in some of the waterless river beds for a completely different experience.

For overnight adventures, the park has a wooded campground that accommodates both tents and trailers. The park also has a lodge and cabins that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Be sure to stop in the park’s visitor center and see the museum-like displays. Venture into the Trailheads Snacks section for a tasty treat of sandwiches, pizza or artisan ice cream created in unique and delicious flavors such as Loaded Coffee, Dreamsicle or Cookie Explosion. Enjoy your food indoors or take it outside and have a picnic alongside the river. Nowadays, there’s plenty to eat here at Starved Rock.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Large wooded park. Multiple trails. Scenic waterfalls and canyons.


Waterfalls can be dry.


Historically significant
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Near lake or river
Picnic tables
Bird watching
Potable water
Covered picnic areas
Boat ramp(s)
General store
Dump stations
Guided tours
Native artifacts


Nearby Lodging + Camping


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