Starved Rock
State Park

Memorial Day 2018 delivered some of the best weather we have had for the “unofficial start of summer” in many years.

Camp Method

By Jim Donovan

So we jumped at the opportunity to head over to Starved Rock State Park for a day of hiking.

This doesn’t look like the farmland we drove through to get here!  Flooding from a melting glacier 14,000 – 17,000 years ago led to the unique topography  of the area and formed these canyons.

“Starved Rock State Park consistently ranks as the number 1 natural tourist destination in Illinois”

FRENCH CANYON

Starting at the Visitors Center, French Canyon is the first canyon that hikers come to.  It’s an easy half mile hike from the parking lot to this canyon.  I love the approach to this canyon.  It isn’t the largest canyon in the park but it could be my favorite.  The entrance is long and narrow and you don’t know exactly what you will find up ahead.

With little rain the past few weeks, there was just enough water flowing to create a couple of pretty waterfalls, but our boots stayed dry all day.

It is relatively easy and kind of fun to get into this canyon.  The stream has carved some natural steps and in a couple of areas you have to straddle the stream  and shuffle upward.

 

As you leave French Canyon, follow the trail signs to Wildcat Canyon.  If you watch to your left, you can get a nice view looking down into French Canyon.

This is the first in a series of posts exploring the Canyons of Starved Rock State Park.

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