Starved Rock State Park Campground, Illinois

forest walk of starved rock state park

Campsite name: Starved Rock State Park Campground, Illinois

Camping type: Frontcountry Campground

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Campsite opening hours: The gates are open from 8:30 am to 10:00 pm daily.

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Booking Link:

Reservations are required and can be made 6 months to 4 days before your arrival date. This is a very popular campground so it is recommended to reserve your campsite 6 months prior. Weekends throughout May to October sell out first, so get in fast.

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Fees: Prices vary depending on what site you require.

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Facilities: For a detailed map of Starved Rock State Park campground in Illinois click here. 

Water is located throughout the campground for use. Porta potties are available throughout the campground and two separate shower blocks feature flush toilets.

There is a separate section for Youth Group Camping. This is only reservable by approved youth groups that are traveling with an adult chaperone. These groups are typically scout groups or church youth organizations.

There is a campground store that operates from May 1st to October 31st. It sells essentials such as firewood, ice, soda, and other basic supplies.

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Camping Month: The busiest months are between May and October. The West Loop is open all year round however the East Loop and Youth Group Campground are closed from November 15th to April 1st.

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Gear: All sites come with a cement pad for an RV or camper, an area for a tent, a picnic table, a fire pit with a grill grate and an eclectic hook-up.

Click here for essential camping gear recommendations.

The campground has 129 Class-A premium campsites with electric hook-ups only. There are 30 and 50-amp sites available.

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Lookout Spot: There are 18 stunning sandstone canyons in the park that are well worth visiting. If you want to experience Starved Rock's jaw-dropping waterfalls, you need to schedule your camping trip for the spring. The French, Ottawa, Wildcat, St. Louis, and Kaskaskia canyons contain the more well-known waterfalls. You don't want to skip the amazing icefalls that build in the canyons if you're planning a winter excursion!

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Activities: Summer activities in Starved Rock, Illinois

Fishing and Boating

Boats can be launched from the park's western end. Boats are not permitted within 600 feet of the dam due to the hazard posed by strong undertows and currents. The Illinois River is a good place to catch catfish, bullhead, white bass, sauger, walleye, carp, and crappie. You should never try to swim or wade in the river, canyon creeks, or from any park coastline.


Kayak Starved Rock manages the kayak rentals at Starved Rock State Park. The peak season for kayaking is from May to September. To reserve a kayak, please phone 630-567-4653 or send an email to


For more details on hunting programmes at Starved Rock see the IDNR website. Hunting is available for deer, wild turkeys, doves, waterfowl, squirrels, and furbearers. Please read the Hunter Fact Sheet for further details, or call the park ranger in charge of the hunting programmes Monday through Friday at 815-667-5351 and leave a message. Your call will be returned.

Wildlife Watching

Many types of birds and other fauna call this stunning area home. In the region, you can witness great white pelicans, woodland warblers, and waterfowl. If you prefer four-legged creatures, you might see beavers, gophers, foxes, otters, and deer. In the winter, Starved Rock is frequently visited by American Bald Eagles, who may frequently be seen by the Lone Point Shelter, on Plum Island, and close to the Visitor Center.


Within Starved Rock State Park, there are 13 miles of lovely hiking paths that take visitors to waterfalls, forests, and up and down rocky canyons. There is a hike for every skill level because the trails differ in difficulty and duration.

Winter activities in Starved Rock, Illinois

Ice Skating

Every day from 3 to 8 pm, Echo Bluff Park is open to the public for skating, and every Friday from 5 to 8 pm., there is a special event. For only $5, you and your friends and family can enjoy festive music and vibrant disco lights on the ice.

Ice Climbing

The stunning waterfalls in the summer become amazing places for ice climbing during the winter months.

  • Wildcat Canyon, which is most renowned for its enormous 80-foot frozen waterfall, is a spectacular sight. It is understandable why Wildcat is one of the most well-liked locations for ice climbers. The waterfall creates an attractive natural ice sculpture and an alluring challenge for tourists.
  • LaSalle Canyon is an excellent choice for beginners for those with little experience in ice climbing. It's a small 20-foot frozen waterfall that's a great site for novice climbers.
  • Ottawa Canyon, while not as lofty as Wildcat and requiring more experience than LaSalle, Ottawa Canyon is definitely in the middle of the group. This waterfall is around 40 feet tall. Ottawa is a decent compromise for climbers who want to challenge themselves but feel they need more time to be ready to take on climbs like Wildcat and is still a significant accomplishment.
  • Even if you are not an ice climber, Tonti Canyon is worth a visit for the breathtaking scenery alone. It is without a doubt one of the most aesthetically spectacular frozen falls in the Starved Rock area. Yet, at 60 feet and almost straight up, Tonti is a great challenge for climbers. There are many stunning photo opportunities, such as those from behind the waterfall.

Highlight: For a splash of color and breathtaking views, the park's wildflower meadows are worth a visit. The forests and meadows around here are home to more than 200 different species of wildflowers. Common flowers include Bloodroot, Yellow Bellwort, Long Bracted Orchids, violets, lilies, Shooting Star, and Wild Geranium.

Tips: Many Illinoisans consider Starved Rock State Park to be their favorite park. It's the perfect natural hideaway to momentarily escape city life because it's only an hour and a half from Chicago.

The park is frequently cited as the greatest in the state. Without a doubt, the variety of activities is what has led to this title. Due to its proximity to Chicago, Starved Rock is a popular day trip for residents of the windy city. If you have the time, consider extending it to a weekend or even a whole week.