Updated: Nov 27, 2019
June 2011 - WATERFALLS AND CANYONS
I am always on the hunt for free adventures with the kids, but when you can entertain the kids, your husband, and the dog, it’s considered a grand adventure and one of the greatest missions a family can embark on! For the cost of gas, we explored the canyons and waterfalls of Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park.
On a school field trip sometime back in the 1980’s, I had been to Starved Rock as a kid. Back then, I am not sure I fully appreciated the grandeur of what the park had to offer, but it certainly stuck in my mind to want to bring my own girls back.
We had just gotten a puppy and the thought of sending him back to the kennel for the weekend, broke my heart, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the State Park permitted leashed pets. I talked my husband into taking the day off of work to join us. We loaded the car with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, water bottles, dog food, and random snacks. I also packed some towels because there was rain in the forecast.
We drove the short 1.5 hour trip from our house to Starved Rock and retrieved a map from the Visitors Center. My daughters were awed by the huge canyons and really enjoyed exploring the trails to the waterfalls. It was truly an amazing adventure. The rain came as expected and even with the downpour, the trees acted as a natural umbrella and made our journey all the more memorable. There are many trails with many different features, so you can go back several times and have a new experience on each trip.
We had climbed hundred of stairs, the dog was drenched, our feet were soaked and we cannot wait to go back! Although the drive may appear a bit longer than some of our adventures, it may take me 45 minutes to get to Downers Grove from south Naperville; so for canyons, caves and waterfalls, it is indeed worth the trip.
Illinois Starved Rock State Park is located at Rte. 178 & 71 in Utica, IL 61373. Phone number is 815-667-4211. Website is www.starvedrockstatepark.org. Admission is FREE! – Kristen Kucharski