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Starved Rock State Park
Ranked #3 of 17 things to do in Utica
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Known for its magnificent rock formations of St. Peter sandstone, this scenic park offers many hiking and horseback riding trails plus fishing and boating along the banks of the Illinois River.
Reviewed 2 April 2018 via mobile

This park was amazing, beautiful sights and there is park rangers all over to ensure a safe time! 10/10 would come back!

Thank missrose807
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"illinois river"
in 103 reviews
"visitor center"
in 112 reviews
"starved rock"
in 355 reviews
"bald eagles"
in 38 reviews
"frozen waterfalls"
in 19 reviews
"poison ivy"
in 20 reviews
"french canyon"
in 42 reviews
"great trails"
in 25 reviews
"fall colors"
in 29 reviews
"rock formations"
in 32 reviews
"day trip"
in 53 reviews
"wildcat canyon"
in 29 reviews
"natural beauty"
in 16 reviews
"from chicago"
in 45 reviews
"beautiful scenery"
in 28 reviews
"st louis"
in 16 reviews
"louis canyon"
in 35 reviews

105 - 109 of 1,401 reviews

Reviewed 1 April 2018

The ranger suggested a 4 mile canyon loop that was a great hike. There are several sections that involve climbing stairs. The trails are well marked.

Thank JGS62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2018

We spent the day at Starved Rock in late March, hoping to see eagles and waterfalls. We had a great day and here is my usual, balanced review together with top tips for future travelers.

Here's what we liked:
Parking is easy (see my top tip below though) and the Visitor Center offered a small shop with T-shirts, magnets and other usual souvenirs, great quality food (we loved the made-to-order chicken wraps and ice cream) and free maps of the park. The restrooms were clean at the start of the day but after heavy use they were a little dirty by 4pm.

The trails are superbly marked and maintained. Whenever we felt we needed to check where we were there was a map and we wear able to find our way. Look-outs and viewing areas were well positioned and the information boards were really interesting. We loved seeing bald eagles this late in their winter season as they soared above the sky and the waterfalls, now free-flowing from their frozen winter state were great, varying from a trickle to roaring bursts of water you could walk behind.

Here's what we didn't like:
If you want an off-the-beaten track experience Starved Rock will disappoint. The boardwalks and steps are so well maintained that it feels a little too artificial at times. We could see why they wouldn't want people traipsing through the park, slipping and falling on the steep and uneven ground, but all the same it wasn't like walking through the trees and finding your own way in most areas.

My top tips and need-to-knows:
We walked all the main trails and you need to be physically fit. There are a LOT of very steep steps and as a couple who take regular physical exercise and walk up to 10 miles each weekend we had very tired legs at the end of the day.

Get there early, around 9am, before the parking lots/car parks fill up. Choose whether to climb the steep steps and try to see the eagles or go straight to the waterfalls first, whichever you want to see and photograph with few people around. It got really busy around 11am and we had to queue/stand in line to get to some of the waterfalls.

Also, take binoculars to see the eagles. We saw many of them soaring above, riding the thermals, but without our binoculars we wouldn't have been able to see any detail of them as they were flying so high in the sky.

Overall we loved Starved Rock and will look forward to going back in the summer, when the bare trees are back in leaf.

3  Thank AlisonJCowan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2018 via mobile

This place can be covered entirely if you spend all day beginning early morning on trails.A stroller can be pushed just for the beginning portion and then be left by the stairs..Dogs on leash allowed, and as long as your knees are ok anyone can climb the stairs and rest in between.
There was general confusion regarding the lenght of each stretch because is not printed on pocket maps but only on the trail maps, as you go.There is a color code you should pay attention to as the trails are by the water level or on top of the rocky plateaus,up high.We strongly recommend the Wild Cat Canyon.There are signs for Away & Return to the Information Center,and the white dot should stand for returning to center but we found a mistake by the fork indicating that LaSalle Canyon is a returning trail - in reality was an extra loop one could skip when returning from the hour long trip by the river and in need to use the bathroom and/or thirsty.
Trail to Lovers Leap is a quick 30 min and if you keep going along the river 20 min later ,with young kids, you find the beautiful Wild Cat.Another way to see Wild Cat is to turn right instead of left as soon as you climb first vertical stretch of stairs.The concessions were closed by 5PM, no schedule posted.
You must bring a bottle of water and be aware there is no public toilet along the river trail,or benches to rest,except at Lovers Leap & Eagle Cliff overlook.There are no picnic tables or trash cans and is muddy.I can say that staff I interacted with was not very helpful.We will have to return for the French Canyon.Obe thing I didn't expect was the waterfall to be dry and that is the kind of information I wanted to hear beforehand from the staff...

Thank boemiana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 30 March 2018 via mobile

Good lookout points overlooking a dam and bluffs. Hiking trails are nice but lots of steps. Worth it to be able to walk around the canyons!

Thank Jon K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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