Sunday, November 13, 2016

On the Road Again (Starved Rock State Park)

The final stop in our whirlwind drive through nine states in nine days was Starved Rock State Park in Illinois.

I had never heard of the place (and I'm sure many Illinoisans haven't heard of some parks in Kentucky) until I read about it in Midwest Living's excellent Best of the Midwest Travel guide. By the way, this magazine became my primary source for planning in the weeks leading up to our 3,800-mile journey.

Eagle Cliff overlook at Illinois River 
Starved Rock got its name from an Indian legend dating from the 18th century. Members of the Illinois tribe died from starvation on one of the rocky peaks following a fierce battle with Ottawa Indians. More about it here

It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1962.

One of  easy trails 
The park, located less than 100 miles south of Chicago, was voted the No. 1 attraction in the state. I couldn't find the source of that ranking but it is a destination that draws 2.5 million visitors annually. I can see why it would be a great place for Chicagoans to escape from the urban hustle and bustle since it contains more than 12.3 miles of hiking trails through 18 sandstone canyons and several waterfalls.

The park also has a rustic lodge, cabins, camping grounds, visitors center, and numerous markers to keep you from straying too far off the beaten path. We had hoped to see some beautiful fall foliage like we'd viewed while driving across Minnesota and Wisconsin, but we were probably a week or two early to enjoy the colors. 

Visitors Center

Starved Rock lies on the south bank of the Illinois River so it offers water activities such as cruises, boating, and fishing (sorry, no swimming or wading). We had a nice buffet lunch in the lodge during our visit, then hiked several trails before getting back on the highway on our way back home (after an overnight stay in Bloomington/Normal).

Starved Rock State Park is certainly a place we'd return to if we're ever back in that neck of the woods. 

For more images visit my Facebook page. 

Until the next time....  

No comments:

Post a Comment