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Starved Rock State Park
Seasonal waterfalls, awe-inspiring bluffs and rugged canyons dominate the storied landscape at Starved Rock. Rich with history and beauty, Starved Rock’s hiking trails meander through towering trees and scenic overlooks along the Illinois River. Outdoor activities include hiking, canoeing, paddle boat cruises, cross-country skiing, trolley rides, fishing and picnicking. Visitors can stay at the historic Starved Rock Lodge or in one of its cozy cabins.
Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort and Enchanted Forest
Discover a magical family getaway just beyond the glow of Chicago at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort. Nestled in the Starved Rock area of Illinois, Grizzly Jack's is an oasis of relaxation and adventure - a destination where water park fun meets natural wonder. Escape from the big city and enjoy a vacation in the scenic Northwoods at Grizzly Jack's - an unforgettable place to unwind, play, meet, dine and explore with family and friends.
Starved Rock Lodge
Full-service Conference Center in Starved Rock State Park. Dining room, bar, veranda, outdoor dining, indoor pool (for Lodge guests). Retreats, meetings, banquets, reunions and all-inclusive dream weddings. Lodge has 69 rooms and 21 cabin rooms in a rustic, wooded setting.
Matthiessen State Park
Canyons, streams, prairie and forest combine to delight visitors at Matthiessen State Park. Located in central LaSalle County, approximately four miles south of Utica and three miles east of Oglesby, Matthiessen is a paradise for those interested in geology as well as recreation. Visitors can expect to see beautiful rock formations in addition to unusual and abundant vegetation and wildlife. All of this, along with park and picnic facilities make Matthiessen State Park a popular choice for a special outing.
Starved Rock Lodge - Cabins
Historic lodge nestled in Starved Rock State Park. Open daily, on-site bar, indoor pool; hotel and cabins in the woods, free WiFi, restaurant & seasonal, outdoor dining. A great part of your all-inclusive wedding celebration.
Eagle Watching at Starved Rock State Park
You don’t have to travel north to see these majestic birds of prey. Thousands of eagles migrate south from Canada during the winter and Illinois is one of the homes of the greatest population of wintering bald eagles. The Starved Rock Lodge in Utica offers a “Bald Eagle Trolley Tour” in January and February on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Viewing birds from the Veranda at the Starved Rock Lodge is good as well. Dress warmly though. This great viewing spot is right outside the doors of the Great Room. If you’d like some exercise, take a hike on one of the trails at the Starved Rock State Park. One trail begins right at the Veranda. For a birds eye view, hike to the top of the Rock. Another popular event is "Eagle Watch Weekend" with activites both at the Starved Rock Lodge and the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center.
Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center
The Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center has several interactive displays, free videos on the park, hiking maps, and more. Trailheads Concessions & Gifts, also located here, is a great place to buy gifts, souvenirs, and snacks (fresh fudge, too)! The Visitor Center and Trailheads are open year-round.
Landers House is located a half a block from charming downtown Utica, home of historic Mill Street. We are country lodging in a truly unique setting geared to pamper. We have four cottages with 2 person whirlpools, fireplaces, large bathrooms with two person showers, loft bedrooms with down filled bedding and sky lights, cable TV, CD Players, wet bars stocked with coffee and teas, glassware and dishware for two. Our suites and rooms are designed with our guests comfort in mind. We encourage you to indulge in your fantasies, revive your romantic nature and relax in a secluded atmosphere.
Belle of the Rock
The Belle of the Rock paddle boat tours are located at historic Starved Rock state park in Utica, Illinois (just 80 miles west of Chicago). In addition to the river tours, we provide canoes and kayaks. Call us today at 815-434-9200 to make your reservation.
Captain Swift Covered Bridge
Located one mile west of Princeton in Bureau County, Illinois is the Captain Swift Covered Bridge. Built in 2006, the bridge derives its strength from its burr arch design, an idea patented by Theodore Burr of New York in 1804. Made entirely of wood using 1800s concepts (it has an outer skin of Douglas Fir), the Captain Swift Covered Bridge is the only two-lane covered bridge in Illinois. It has a 16’-3” vertical clearance, a 28 foot minimum roadway width and a 128’ span over the Big Bureau Creek. GPS co-ordinates - N41 22.745 W89 29.871
Starved Rock State Park East Hike
Starved Rock State Park has a beautiful East Hike that offers canyons galore, each with slightly different shapes, sizes and colorings. At 6.4 miles of dirt terrain, this hike is moderately difficult. Cool, shady and overgrown with ferns, the canyons offer a plethora of trees and flowering plants—a true delight to explore. You’ll also encounter scenic overlooks 100 feet above the Illinois River. The real crowd pleasers at Starved Rock are the numerous sandstone canyons that were carved deep into the bedrock as upland streams drained into the Illinois River. Some noted canyons of worth to explore are Kaskaskia Canyon, Ottawa Canyon and Hennepin Canyon Overlook.
Starved Rock State Park West Hike
Starved Rock State Park West Hike offers a decidedly different set of attractions than its eastern counterpart. On this hike you’ll encounter a series of overlooks from wooded bluffs and rocky cliffs high above the Illinois River. This 2.9-mile hike varies in difficulty due to the large amount of stairs that need climbing. The dominant feature of Starved Rock can be found on this hike, via a narrow bluff that runs 4-miles along the south branch of the Illinois River. The park’s namesake towers 125 feet above the river, offering commanding views of the nearby islands and river. Some notable excursions include, French Canyon, Wildcat Canyon and Pontiac Canyon with sweeping views of the Illinois River.
Kishauwau Country Cabins
In the shadow of Starved Rock, Kishauwau Country Cabins features cabins that have been beautifully renovated to blend country charm with modern convenience. Enjoy fully equipped kitchens and outdoor bonfire pits.
Bald Eagle Trolley Tours
Be mesmerized by the beautiful bald eagles at Starved Rock. In January and February ride the trolley from Starved Rock Lodge to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center for bald eagle viewing and an educational program. Includes lunch during the week and brunch on Sunday in the Main Dining Room. Tour options: 9:00am w/tour first & 11:00am w/lunch first, $25 Includes Lunch/Adults; Children under 10/$5 less. January & February Mon, Wed, Sat & Sunday Monday: Tour begins with lunch at 11am Wednesday: Tours begins with lunch at 11am Saturday: 1st tour begins at 9am, ending with lunch 2nd tour begins with lunch at 11am (Please note: There are no tours on January 24th) Sunday: Tour begins with brunch at 11am (Please note: There are no tours on January 25th).
The Chocolate Shoppe
The Chocolate Shoppe in Utica is where lovers of this rich delicacy flock to. Featuring handmade confections, including world famous chocolate covered bacon; and offering a variety of sea-salted caramels, truffles, fudge, nut clusters, barks toffees, hand-dipped chocolate popcorn, graham crackers, pretzels, chocolate-covered fruits and nuts, and specialty items like chocolate pasta, chocolate balsamic vinegars and more.
Camp Wokanda, acquired from W.D. Boyce Council of the Boy Scouts of America, offers a beautiful 316-acre woodland setting, including a lake for fishing. The camp, with dining hall, sleeping cabins, program buildings and tent camping, offers a variety of naturalist tours, environmental education, and rental options to groups interested in a secluded, close-to-nature gathering. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Peoria, this Peoria Park District site has been providing fond memories for its young campers since the 1920s. Primarily used as a facility for group camping events, Camp Wokanda's overnight accommodations include cabin and primitive camping, as well as a central lodge and dining hall. Camp Wokanda hosts events including guided tours, environmental education programs, retreats, and even weddings.
August Hill Winery
Visit the August Hill Winery & Illinois Sparkling Co. tasting room and experience locally-made handcrafted wines. Wine tastings and flights, wine gifts & accessories, gallery of local art, outdoor patio, private events. Open Monday - Thursday, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Friday - Saturday, 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM & Sun 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
LaSalle Canal Boat & Lock 16 Visitors Center
Mule pulled canal boat rides with period clothed storyteller, open May-October. The year-round Visitor center includes exhibits, programs, visitor information, cafe and gift shop.
Illinois River Winery
Come tour the winery, visit the tasting room and outdoor wine garden, featuring award-winning wines made in the Illinois River Valley. Open everyday!
Starved Rock State Park - Ice Climbing
While rock climbing is prohibited, there are up to five canyons in which ice climbing is permitted when conditions allow. All ice climbers must sign in at the ranger station (Park Office) and must have a partner. Call ahead to check ice and other park conditions.
Matthiessen State Park - Cross Country Skiing
Five miles of scenic trails amidst a spectacular geological backdrop enable hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, runners and cross-country skiers to experience a peaceful jaunt through the park, while families congregate around fully-equipped, shaded picnic areas neighboring playgrounds, trailheads and 17th-Century restored French fort.
Illinois River at Starved Rock State Park
The Illinois River slices a 273-mile long path through the state—but it’s in Utica where the Illinois River meets Starved Rock State Park. With 18 canyons, and sandstone bluffs for four miles, Starved Rock State Park is one of Illinois’ treasured nature habitats. On your journey down the river, your eyes will never tire from all the wildlife that call the river home. From Black-crowed heron, river otters, Western ribbon snakes, even bald eagles. Whether you’re kayaking or canoeing, you’ll experience the shear power of the winding river that was carved by glacial melt water in all its seasonal colors, with its various incarnations of forests, wetlands, bluffs and prairies to enjoy.
The Foster Suite
Located in the heart of Utica, The Foster Suite has a King bed, Queen sleeper sofa, 50" Plasma TV, fire place and Jacuzzi and more. Also offer wireless internet.
CITY: North Utica
The Willows Hotel - Utica
The Willows Hotel is a quiet quaint boutique hotel quietly nestled in historic Utica, Illinois. We are located 90 minutes from downtown Chicago and the Quad Cities. There is no better escape from your day to day routine. We are one mile from the entrance of Starved Rock State Park, voted one of "Illinois Seven Wonders". Two miles from Matthiessen State Park. The Willows Hotel is a short stroll from shopping, organic food store,restaurants, wineries, and pubs. More than a place to rest your head, you can relax and rejuvenate. Make yourself at home in our warm residential-feel rooms or suites. For business or leisure, The Willows Hotel staff is eager to make your stay enjoyable and comfortable.