Monday, July 28, 2014

Starved Rock State Park

I got my nature "fix" at Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois.








This beautiful state park is almost right in my backyard, less than 2 hours away, and I cannot imagine why I've never been here until a few days ago. It's a nature lover's dream, especially if you live in an urban area like I do.  It's one of the prettiest parks in Illinois. Keep in mind, we not have the scenic views or "wonders" in our flat Prairie State so we take what we can get.



Most of the trails are nice and well kept.


There are sandstone canyons, bluffs, pretty rock formations, waterfalls and hiking trails throughout. The area was hit by several nasty storms in June so when we were there many of the trails were closed due to dangerous conditions - downed trees and damaged walkways and stairways  - but there were still plenty of trails and canyons open. We also went to see the canyons and trails at Matthiessen State Park - just as pretty but lesser known and a few miles south of Starved Rock. 


The canyons are beautiful and it's so cool and quiet and peaceful when you get down there.


 The only problem with going down into the canyons is that, yes, you have to climb back up  eventually : ( 


The other bad part was that on our first trip out on the trails we did not get there early enough in the morning and the crowds were horrible. Too many noisy people and screaming babies. So, if you go, go early. One guy was actually walking along playing loud music on his phone if you can believe it. A kid screamed: "I want to go home! I know why they call this 'Starving' Rock - there's NO food here!!" I guess he expected a hot dog stand and ice cream vendor along the way, LOL. We lagged behind for a bit and let the obnoxious guys get ahead and then we sneaked off onto a side trail that was less populated and much quieter. Despite the heat and humidity it was mostly cool in the canyons. The next day we set out much earlier and were able to hike by ourselves.



Tip for my sister: Some of the streams have bridges you can cross over, but not all . . . .  You're going to get wet at some point.






The park provides stairways to get down into some of the deeper canyons. 



While up on a bridge looking down into a canyon we spotted some teenagers attempting to climb DOWN this slippery waterfall if you can believe it. 


I can't help but act like a Mom to all kids I meet. I thought of my own and yelled at them and asked if they thought they should be doing that. It was pretty deserted up where we were on the bridge - we just happened to be there at the same time they were and I'm sure they were surprised to see us. Later, after we had walked down into the canyon ourselves by way of the stairs, we ran into them again. The girl looked at me shyly and said "We decided to take the safe route down after all." Whew! I told her her mom could thank me later. I'm pretty sure the park rangers see injuries or fatalities every year involving stupid kids doing stupid, reckless things like that.













If you live near Chicago or are visiting this summer, think about planning a trip here. It is worth seeing and we will definitely go back in the fall for the colors. Hopefully, the other trails will be accessible by then. I hear the waterfalls are also much larger and prettier in the spring after a rain so we'll have to return for those as well.

16 comments:

lalaluu said...

Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing all of your pics. Also, good for you for looking out for the thrill-seeking teenagers. Yes, the safe route is more boring, less adrenaline, but you'll be able to walk out under your own power!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

it has been quite a few years since we have been to this park - we camped there once on our way to our daughters house in WI - loved the park and trails but we were there in very early September I believe when most kids are back in school!!

Ann in PA said...

Kathy, The park is beautiful - I wish I lived closer. It looks so peaceful. (except for the guy playing loud music ?) I hope those teenagers realize that you saved them from themselves! Thanks for sharing.

Robin said...

Fascinating rock formations. Thanks for sharing the experience.

Carrie ~ Cricketwood Prims said...

Wonderful pictures of your park, I'm glad you got out to enjoy it and shared with us. I love getting out there and always ask the same thing, why have I not done this before. Or more often.
My yearly fix is going to Crater Lake National Park.

Jean Belle said...

What beautiful photos. I can almost feel the coolness of the air by looking at them. Thanks for sharing with us.

Kathy said...

Beautiful park and thanks for sharing your wisdom with those young kids. I am glad they heeded your advice to find a safer route down.

Jennifer M said...

Looks like some beautiful State Parks. Not to far for me either, around 2 hours. I haven't been to either, will have to plan a trip. Thanks for sharing, your pictures are wonderful.

Susan Smith said...

Just beautiful!

Rebecca in AK said...

It looks like such a beautiful area! And so many nice trails to walk on. Thank you for sharing your photos! I truly enjoyed them.

agullainquieta said...

Wonderful pictures of your park, I like it!
Kisses

kiquilter said...

Thank you for the wonderful nature fix. I love the small waterfall with the curved rocks. What a serene place! It's sad how often people unthinkingly intrude in physical and "audio" space of others.

Anonymous said...

Kathy, I love your Park!! Southern California is so dry this year and we have to watch for fires and conserve our water, so to see the lush green landscape and the flowing water is just a delight! Thanks for sharing Carolyn Barnett

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

My sister lives not too far from Starved Rock ... we're going to go visit her next week ... hopefully we'll visit Starved Rock while we're there. Your pictures have certainly given me the desire to do so. ;-)

Pam in IL said...

Starved Rock is literally in my back yard. My daughters love the falls when they are frozen in the winter. The conservation police have been kept very busy with people going off the trails or on the closed trails. Buffalo Rock and the Lock and Dam are also nice places to visit also.

Judy said...

That looks like a wonderful place to visit and to hike! Thanks for sharing the great photos with us.

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