About the Park
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Starved Rock State Park is an Illinois state park located in Utica, Illinois, in rural La Salle County, Illinois, about 75 miles (120 km) west-southwest of downtown Chicago. The park is 2,630 acres (10 km²)in size and includes 13 miles (21 km) of hiking trails, numerous waterfalls (icefalls in winter) and other landforms. The park contains 18 sandstone canyons carved over the last 12,000 years by a combination of surface water runoff and groundwater outflow. Starved Rock itself is a large eroded butte overlooking the Illinois River. French explorers built a fort called Fort St. Louis atop the rock in 1682 but had abandoned it by the early 1700s.

The rock derives its name from a story that a band of Illiniwek was trapped in the 1760s on the rock by a band of Potawatomi trying to avenge the death of the Ottawa Chief Pontiac. The Illiniwek then scrambled to the top of the rock, where the Ottawa and allied Potawatomi laid siege until the Illiniwek starved to death. However, the authenticity of the story has never been verified, and the story is now considered to be more legend than truth.

Camping, boating and fishing are popular activities in the park. On the property there is also a 1930s lodge built of full timbers by the Civilian Conservation Corps in National Park Service Rustic style, the Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center. Overnight accommodations and restaurant are available at the park and in nearby communities of LaSalle, Oglesby, Ottawa, Peru and Utica.

Starved Rock State Park is one of the busiest State Parks in Illinois with yearly attendance over 1 million visitors each year. While the natural areas show definite signs of great use (erosion is one of the biggest problems the park faces), a great deal of botanical diversity is found there.