|Starved Rock has many narrow canyons which can be hiked|
|Bald Eagles were very common|
Nearly every Illinois Tourism brochure has three common pictures in it- Lincoln related points of interest, Chicago scenes and Starved Rock. The dozen or so waterfalls are beautiful in themselves, not just "pretty... for the Midwest". In the winter, they freeze and become a legitimate ice climbing destination. The reasons for making it down here were numerous.
|WI4 Ice at Starved Rock|
The above pictured Wildcat Canyon and French Canyon were the highlight of our little jaunt. There are dozens of canyons with varying degrees of magnificence throughout the park but those two are the most photographed. A few of them could be seen from the road such as Kankaskia and Ottawa Canyon. I didn't realize the park is some 20 miles long. St Louis Canyon and Aurora Canyon were not seen by us on this hike but they consistently make for photography favorites during any season.
|Lovers Leap as viewed from Starved Rock|
|Expansive view of the Illinois River from Eagle Cliff|
Winter was a fine time to visit Starved Rock. The trails were well marked and cut and I just needed microspikes for the few hills we encountered. There's enough hills and stairs to make it a pretty legitimate hike as well. Its possible to hike a good 14-16 miles without seeing the same thing twice; a good summertime goal. But whether on snowshoes, winter boots or crampons, I think this park is beyond just the "its beautiful... for the Midwest" type of place.
|Walking along the Illinois River|
|Some single pitch ice climbing- easy to top rope|
Read. Plan. Get Out There!