Situated along the scenic Illinois River, the Starved Rock Visitor Center should be the first stop when visiting the park. The visitor center is open 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM daily (closed Thanksgiving Day, Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and President's Day). Trail maps are available inside the center and in brochure racks outside the building. Park staff will be on hand to explain the trail system and give trail advice. Educational displays inside the center will help acquaint visitors with the park history, geology, flora, and fauna of Starved Rock State Park. Three informational park videos are highly recommended and available upon request.
Lisa Sons, Natural Resource Coordinator
Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks
Route 178 and 71
Utica, Il 61373
Guided Tours (school, scout, and special interest groups)
Free guided hikes are available to the public at 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays only, from the third Saturday in June through the second Saturday in November.
School and youth groups may contact the Natural Resource Coordinator about guided hikes on Fridays from September through April. Hikes will leave from the Visitor Center. Interpreters will discuss the history, geology, flora, and fauna of the park while hiking to Starved Rock and Wildcat Canyon which is a 2 mile roundtrip hike with several staircases. The hike will take 2 hours to complete.
Please remember all groups including school groups of 25 or more must complete a Group P ermit to be submitted to the park office no later than 2 weeks prior to the date of the visit. Group Permits can be downloaded from the Activities section above.
Starved Rock State Park hosts many special event weekends throughout the year. During special event weekends, visitors can hike with guides to see icefalls, bald eagles, spring wildflowers, beautiful colors of autumn, can learn to kayak, and get up-close and personal with birds of prey. Most special events are free unless otherwise noted. Schedule of Events.
Starved Rock History Information Packet
For detailed information on the legend and history of Starved Rock, check out the Starved Rock History Booklet
. The packet includes information on Starved Rock itself, Illinois River Lock and Dam, the Civilian Conservation Corps, geology, flora, and fauna of the park, and French and Native American history of the park.