Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Starved Rock State Park: Starved Rock and French Canyon

Starved Rock State Park is a place that Noelle and I have been talking about visiting for years. We pass it nearly every time we visit Noelle's parent's house as it is just off of two major interstate highways. Today we finally got our opportunity to explore the park a bit, though due to recent weather we would not be able to explore as much as we would have liked.

We pulled into the large parking area at the visitor center only to discover that the VC was closed for the day. Still we were able to find the information that we needed, the most important being that all the park's trails except for two were closed due to downed trees blocking the trails.
Trail closed
This information made choosing a hike easy: we would be headed to Starved Rock and nearby French Canyon.

We started our hike passing several buildings (and monuments)
NHL plaque
in the visitor center area. Then we headed up Starved Rock on wooden stairs. At the top we had wonderful views of the Illinois River
Illinois River
and a whole lot of pelicans. We walked the short loop on top of the rock and then descended the way we had come. We then made the hike to French Canyon.
Noelle on French Canyon Trail
I have to say that I was quite impressed by what we found in the canyon.
Trail to French Canyon
It was a box canyon with sheer sides. Because it was so shady in the canyon, moss covered the walls, giving them a green hue. We took some photos there
Eric and Sierra at French Canyon
and then retraced our steps back towards the parking area. Seeing French Canyon has certainly whet my appetite for wanting to see more of Starved Rock State Park! While Noelle used the restroom near the visitor center, Sierra and I looked at the birds feeding at the bird feeders.
nuthatch on feeder

Because our hike was short and there were no other areas for us to explore that are currently open, we decided against camping in the state park tonight. We decided to make some more miles and so we drove on to Normal, Illinois where we are spending the night.       

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