A wintry blanket of snow transforms beautiful Starved Rock Country and makes it look like a whole new world.
The changing of the seasons offers so many new and exciting adventures. No need to wait till summer to come hike the trails or visit Starved Rock Country when the winter offers such a delight for kids of all ages. Come play in the snow!
As Starved Rock State Park turns 100 years old in 2011 there will be special events planned all year long. The natural beauty of the seasonal transformation brings a whole new look to the trails you may have hiked in the summer.
Walking into a canyon or hiking the trails after a fresh snowfall is breathtaking and unforgettable. Cross-country skiing can be enjoyed in the picnic area and at nearby Matthiessen State Park. Cross-country ski rentals are available at Matthiessen Dells Area on weekends December through March.
As the waterfalls freeze into ice, the formations make for a great photo opportunity. Ice climbing is allowed on select weekends. It’s a great sport to watch and only avid climbers are allowed to do this. Ice climbing is allowed in French, Wildcat, Tonti and Ottawa canyons. Fourteen of the park’s 18 canyons have waterfalls when conditions are favorable.
A mushroom-shaped mound of ice forms at the bottom of the canyon, while stalactite-like icicles form at the top. When all goes well, the two may meet and the structure can be solid and secure enough for climbers to attempt. Park staff determines if there is enough ice to climb.
To get up the waterfall requires special equipment beyond the usual climbing ropes including boots with crampons, a helmet and special ice axes to get a grip and steady the climber. Be sure to get all the information before you set out on this icy adventure. Conditions that would seem to be perfect do not guarantee proper climbing conditions. For current conditions, call the park office at (815) 667-4726
Starved Rock Country is a sight to behold this time of year. Be sure to mark your calendars for a winter adventure that you will never forget.