Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
205.00 ft (62.48 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
0.63 mi (1.01 km)
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.

When you visit Starved Rock State Park, you’ll want to be sure to hike the park’s namesake trail. An easy trail starting from the visitor center, the paved path leads through woods dotted with wildflowers. At the end of the pavement, a flight of wooden stairs beckons adventurers to climb to the summit of Starved Rock.

Once reaching the summit, a well-maintained wooden plank trail continues in a loop around the top of Starved Rock. From here, you’ll have panoramic views of the Illinois River, including the nearby lock, dam, and the 45-acre Illinois Audubon Society’s Plum Island Sanctuary. Visit during warmer months and you could see pelicans bobbing in the water below the dam. Visit between December and March and you’ll see the island is home to some of the hundreds of bald eagles that migrate to the area every winter. The numbers of eagles at Starved Rock are greatest when temperatures start to freeze the water of nearby lakes and rivers, encouraging the eagles to feed by the dam’s open water.

But there’s more to Starved Rock than beautiful scenery and wildlife. There’s an abundance of history. French explorer Robert Cavelier de LaSalle noted the strategic value of the location and ordered a fort to be built here. Named after the King of France, Louis XIV, the construction of Fort St. Louis began in 1682. By 1702, King Louis XIV ordered the fort to be abandoned.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Scenic vista. Well-constructed trail. Paved or wood planks. Historical location.

Cons

None.

Trailhead Elevation

464.00 ft (141.43 m)

Highest point

561.00 ft (170.99 m)

Net Elevation Gain

100.00 ft (30.48 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Historically significant
Wildlife
Family friendly
Big vistas
Guided tours
Potable water
Wildflowers
Bird watching
Flushing toilets

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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