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 and Christmas 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.
Guided Tours (school, scout, and special interest groups)
Free guided tours are offered to the public most weekends throughout the year, and during the week by appointment, with the park naturalist. Typical guided tours last 1.5 hours and consists of hiking to the top of Starved Rock and into French Canyon. Along the way, visitors will learn about park history, geology, flora/fauna, and bald eagle viewing (seasonal). Be sure to bring your camera…you never know what you might see along the trail! To schedule a tour, or inquire about the weekend hike schedule, contact the park naturalist at 815-667-4726.
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. Full schedule of events
Jr. Ranger Program
Hey, kids! Starved Rock now has a Jr. Ranger program! Jr. Ranger booklets are available to pick-up at the Starved Rock Visitor Center during regular operational hours. Booklets are designed for kids ages 5 and up. Activities within these booklets can be completed using displays/exhibits inside the visitor center and by hiking trails within the park. Bring the completed booklet back before closing and if successfully completed kids will receive an official Starved Rock State Park Jr. Ranger badge.
Click here to review/print copies of the Jr. Ranger booklets: 5 to 7 year-olds
and 8 to 12 year-olds
Bald Eagle Viewing
During winter months, bald eagles flock to Starved Rock in search of food. One of the best spots in the park for eagle viewing is from the top of Starved Rock. Frozen river = more bald eagles! If temperatures are very cold, large numbers of bald eagles can be found at Starved Rock. Bald eagles migrate to the Starved Rock area from Canada and the Great Lake states during the winter months due to the Starved Rock Lock and Dam. The turbulent water under the dam keeps the water open year round so bald eagles can always find food…in this case fish, their primary food source.
Be sure to plan a trip to Starved Rock at least once during each season. Each season brings something new to Starved Rock…icefalls and eagles in winter, wildflowers in spring, wildlife in early summer, and amazing colors in the autumn. Check out the accompanying photographs taken here at Starved Rock.
Starved Rock History Information Packet
For detailed information on the legend and history of Starved Rock, check out the Starved Rock State Park Information Packet
at the link below. The packet includes information on Starved Rock itself, the Civilian Conservation Corps, Lover’s Leap, La Salle and Tonti, Plum and Leopold Islands, bald eagles, the local geology and more.