STOP 4: French Canyon One of the easiest hikes in the parks just so happens to lead to one of the most beautiful canyons! Located just 0.4-miles southeast of the Visitors Center, French Canyon offers a towering 45-foot tall waterfall during the rainy season, and beautifully eroded Saint Peters sandstone all year round. After a rainfall, admire the colorful streaks left on the canyon walls by the mineral-rich water.
Every winter, a small stretch of the Illinois River, between Starved Rock State Park and the Illinois Waterways Visitors Center, becomes a temporary condominium for a convocation of eagles! These majestic creatures, with wingspans upward of eight feet in length, pay Starved Rock a visit every year when more northern state’s rivers and lakes begin to freeze.
STOP 5: LaSalle Canyon
The Illinois Audubon Society’s Plum Island Sanctuary, located at the
Located about a mile from the Parkman’s Plain parking lot, LaSalle Canyon boasts a wide picturesque canyon and jutting sandstone shelf, suspended 20 feet off the ground. Best of all, your hike to canyon will wind you along the Illinois river, providing you with a great view of the river and chance to see some rare birds and foliage.
a wintering site. The island’s seclusion, sturdy trees and proximity to
STOP 6: Water Cruise or Trolley Tour If you’re looking to get out of the canyons and take a break from hiking, or if you have a party member looking for a less active excursion, you can reserve a spot aboard Starved Rock’s Eagle One Water Cruise (running Jun. – Oct.) or take a Trolley Tour (running year-round). These narrated tours merge history and sighting seeing for a truly one of a kind view of Starved Rock.
base of the Starved Rock Lock, is commonly used by these eagles as a non-iced over section of the river, makes Plum island particularly desirable real estate for these feathered ﬂiers. During their wintering season, which lasts anywhere between December and March, you’ll often spot these eagles circling above broken ice, trying to ﬁnd their next meal, or roosting among the island’s tallest trees. To see these eagles for yourself, head to the Lover’s Leap Overlook, the peak of Starved Rock or the aptly named Eagle Cliff Overlook. Be sure to bring a pair of binoculars or a camera with a large tele-photo lens. If you left your binoculars at home, don’t fret, Starved Rock Visitors Center also loans out complementary pairs at the front desk.
STOP 7: The Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center After a full day of hiking and sightseeing, cap your trip off with a stay at the Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center. This historic hotel nestled in nature, features a Cliffside panorama of the Illinois river, an indoor pool complex, on-site restaurants and a beautiful rustic lounge. You can choose from historic lodge accommodations, spacious hotel rooms or charming log cabins.
Water Cruise ENJOYLASALLECOUNTY.COM
3/27/20 4:27 PM