Starved Rock State Park
Back in 2013 I moved from beautiful Michigan to Chicago, Illinois. Chicago is beautiful in its own way but for those who love the outdoors, it is less then appealing. The Chicago area is very limited in outdoor areas that you can escape too. Starved Rock State Park is one of those escapes, and an exceptional one at that.
Starved Rock State Park is located in Lasalle County, Illinois just southeast of Utica. It is a 2,630 acre park with breathtaking canyons formed from glaciers. There are over 13 miles of hiking trails and 18 canyons. If exploring after a recent rain storm, many of these canyons will be filled with fantastic waterfalls.
During the winter months, bald eagles can frequently be seen near the cliff edges. They prefer this location as the nearby dam provides turbulent waters that stay unfrozen all year long. The falls months can also be very entertaining as the resident chipmunks are busy collecting acorns and have little fear of humans nearby.
The only negative I would mention about Starved Rock State Park is the crowds. This park sees over 2 million visitors each year. If going on a popular weekend (labor day or memorial day), expect it to feel like a mall where you are shoulder to shoulder on the trails. But if you go during the week or during a non popular weekend, the park is a fantastic experience!