Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
560.00 ft (170.69 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.49 mi (4.01 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.

Like a spider’s web, Starved Rock State Park has intertwining trails that give hikers alternate ways of getting to the same destination. Adventurers can get to Wildcat Canyon using the easy trail from the lodge or a moderate trail starting from the visitor center. The latter is considered moderate due to the amount of stairs along the trail. Hikers can also use interconnecting trails to avoid backtracking and loop through various areas of the park.

The Wildcat Canyon Trail, via French Canyon, is a moderate woodland trail that is well-marked. Varying from a forest floor path to stairs to a wooden plank path, the trail offers some scenic sights along the way to Wildcat Canyon. Saint Peter sandstone is often located hundreds of feet below the ground surface. The bedrock was pushed upward and has eroded into artistically-carved river beds, cliffs and canyons.

There are three ways to view the spectacular Wildcat Canyon. The trail leads to overlooks on either side of the canyon, and a flight of stairs leads from the top of the canyon to the bottom. During snowmelt and after rain, a waterfall will delight adventurers.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Beautiful, steep canyon. Views from canyon rim. Access to into canyon. Wooded.

Cons

Waterfall is weather dependent.

Trailhead Elevation

461.00 ft (140.51 m)

Highest point

660.00 ft (201.17 m)

Net Elevation Gain

199.00 ft (60.66 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Waterfalls
Wildlife
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Guided tours
Potable water
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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