Last weekend we took a mini road trip to explore Staved Rock State Park on the Illinois River. The park is less then 2 hour drive southwest from Chicago. It’s featured on many lists as a top park to visit in the Midwest.
The drive there is not very exciting and is along very flat stretches of highway. But once you get within a few miles of the park the scenery becomes more hilly. The road leading up to the park is curvy and steep, almost like a mountain road. We made our way down to the visitor center where most of the trails start, or connect to. All of the trails in the park are pet friendly, but require that your furry friend is on a leash at all times. As a note of caution, if you do bring your pet, parts of the bluff trail have grated metal stairs the might be hard for them to walk on, so you might have to carry your pet and go on the bypass trail. The trails involve a bit of hiking up and down steep stair cases, so make sure to bring a water and some snacks if you plan to stop and enjoy the views.
The first trail we took once we got to the park was towards the top of Starved Rock. The trail was a nice climb along a path of wooded stairs. Once on top, you could see down the Illinois River and to the other parts of the park. The trail looped around the rock and headed back down the same stairs we came up. Once we were down we continued on the trail towards the canyons.
View of the Illinois River from the top of Starved Rock.
Wildcat Canyon. I expected that this time of the year the waterfall would be much stronger but it was still a beautiful and relaxing view.
View of the Wildcat Canyon from the top.
We had a great mini road trip and look forward to exploring many more parks throughout the Midwest this year.