Starved Rock – Utica, Illinois Hiking

The Illinois Valley area has some of the best hiking trails in Illinois. We usually got to Matheson State Park and hike along the river that has cut deep beds (150 feet deep) chasms, but it was closed because of the flooding last week. We decided to go to the Starved Rock State Park instead as (we thought) it was high ground. Although the lower entrance was closed, the upper was open. It was mayhem in the parking lot as the lower larger parking lot was flooded & people were parking all over the place. We found a place not too far from the entrance that looked like an old grove & parked. It had no sign stating ‘No Parking’ so we went for it.


The lower parking was flooded & the regular parking was full. We found this old grove just b/4 the regular parking. FTF!!!


Most of the trails were closed because of the flooding.

We walked the dogs along the road and down a long flight of stairs. You have to go down to get up. We then started to climb the stairs to Starved Rock.


These were the stairs leading down from the parking. Very steep & anxiety filled walk down.


Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) atop Starved Rock.


The mayapples are just a bit ahead of mine here.


I can’t remember what these are!


We were able to walk to the lower parking lot. See the handicap parking signs out there?


Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebell, Virginia cowslip, lungwort oysterleaf, Roanoke bells)


Spring beauty (claytonia virginica)


Another area near the lower parking. From where the debris had been left, the water would have been over the pavilion’s roof.

The story of Starved Rock is a sad and maybe not so fact based story, but what good story is? A man named Peoria or at least a man from the Michigamea Illinois tribe was said to have murdered the Ottawa Chief in St. Louis in the early 1700’s. Members of the Potowatomi, Ottowa & Mesquakie nations came to the Illinois nations tribes and attacked. The Illinois tribes were not ready for the attack and retreated to the high, rocky ground (Starved Rock) at that time known as Le Rocher. Although they escaped the attacking Indians arrows, they had no access to food or water…. Hence, they starved.


This is from the top of the stairs a few photos ago. Starved Rock is in the distance to the right. If you zoom, you can see the walkway.


On a walkway somewhere in the park.

I will write more about this area when I come back down here for Memorial Day (End of May).


We got back to our parking lot find & it was jammed!

Even sadder was my favorite winery (Illinois River Winery) was flooded and not open for business when we passed. I had planned on stocking up on their awesome sweet wines. I highly recommend their wine & hopefully on-line ordering hasn’t ceased.

Enjoy the day & keep on planting!
© Ilex Farrell

2 thoughts on “Starved Rock – Utica, Illinois Hiking

  1. Pingback: Paul’s Paradise in Oxford, Wisconsin | Midwestern Plants

  2. Pingback: Summer Blooming Flowers 7-24-2014 | Midwestern Plants

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