Discovering the Hidden Gems of Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

darley and guide kathy taking in starved rock state park
Darley and guide Kathy Casstevens taking appreciating the nature in Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park Travel Tips for Hidden Gems and the new Podcast.

Join Darley as she ventures into the heart of Illinois, uncovering the hidden treasures of Starved Rock State Park in LaSalle County by listening to this podcast! Listen to more great podcasts by searching for the “Travels with Darley” podcast on iHeart, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible, and more.

Nestled just an hour and a half from Chicago, Starved Rock State Park offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and combines accessible hiking amid beautiful scenery with wildlife viewing and history.

Darley Newman recently traveled through the park with Kathy Casstevens, greeted by the towering canyons and majestic waterfalls that define this iconic park. With over 2600 acres to explore, they set out to discover the rich history and breathtaking landscapes that await around every corner. Here are some tips from Darley and Kathy on how best to explore this park, too.

Starved Rock State Park Travel Tips

From the tranquil hike to the summit of Starved Rock to the awe-inspiring vistas of St. Louis Canyon, Darley and Kathy delved into the park’s diverse terrain and cultural heritage. Along the way, they encountered a myriad of wildlife, from soaring bald eagles to playful pelicans, highlighting the park’s importance as a sanctuary for native species.

Kathy recommends, walking to the top of Starved Rock to take in great views. Within the park, there are 13 miles of well-marked trails. Pick up a trail mark and check out the trail map at this link prior to your trip. Don’t want to venture off on your own. Opt for a Trolley Tour or take a Guided Hike.

For those thinking about accessibility, there is a wheelchair accessible path leading up to the visitor center and about 1/8-mile past until the trail turns to gravel and dirt. 

darley and kathy posing for a picture at starved rock state park
Darley Newman and Kathy Casstevens at Starved Rock State Park

After a day of exploration, retreat to the historic Starved Rock Lodge, a 1930s-era stone and log lodge with cozy accommodations and delectable dining options. With options ranging from prime rib specials to Sunday brunch, there are options for everyone. In addition, you can dine with scenic views of Illinois River.

With its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage, Starved Rock State Park stands as a testament to the natural beauty of Illinois, beckoning travelers to explore its wonders time and time again.

Keep up with more places to travel on the Travels with Darley Podcast on iHeart, Spotify, Audible, Amazon, Google, Apple and wherever you listen to your favorite podcast.