Starved Rock Foundation

Geared towards Families However some programs are more adult orientated*


Most Programs start at 1:30 pm & will last about an hour. Programs are FREE to the public and most do not require registration or sign-up! Four special hikes (3/22, 6/14, 11/15 & 12/21) require Email registration!



Jan 6th* - Monday - Bobcats: The Reclusive Native Cat of Illinois

Jennifer Kuroda of the Illinois Bobcat Foundation will cover the history, biology, predator perception, management and current studies on the bobcat population in Illinois. Pelts, tracks, scat and mounts will be shown. 1:30pm

Jan 12th* & 13th - Winter Wilderness Weekend

Guided hikes leave the VC at 9:30am, 11am & 1pm to view frozen waterfalls and experience the winter woods both Saturday & Sunday.

Jan 26th* & 27th - Eagle Watch Weekend Guided hikes leave the VC at 9:30am, 11am & 1pm

Choose your hike: Starved Rock & French Canyon - 3/4 mile; Eagle Cliff & Lover's Leap Overlook s- 1.4miles; Wildcat Canyon & Overlooks 2miles.

Eagle viewing from the sea wall, top of the Rock & Illinois Waterway Visitor Center.Birds of Prey shows at the lodge, Illinois Waterway Visitor Center. Our Visitor Center will feature "SOAR" Save Our American Raptors; featuring their Bald Eagle of course!

February 2019

Feb 10th - "Sandstone Tales: Geology of Starved Rock's Past"

Have you ever wondered how the awesome canyons that produce those beautiful waterfalls were formed? Answers to Illinois geological past as they apply to Starved Rock State Park will be revealed by IVCC Geology Instructor Michael Phillips. 1:30pm

March 2019

March 10th - "Tap for Maple Sap"

Join our Park Naturalist Lisa Sons for a presentation on the history of Maple Syrup from Native American and pioneermethods to modern day. Try a piece of maple sugar and head outside fo find a maple tree and learn how to tap for sap! - 1:30pm

March 17th -"The History of Starved Rock, 1673-1911"

Historian & author Mark Walczynski will examine our amazing Native American, French & British Colonial history that is part of the past of Starved Rock. This program is a peek into Mark's new book of the same title. It is a must see for history buffs, educators and others. 1:30 pm

March 22nd* - FRIDAY "Full Moon Night Hike: LaSalle & Tonti Canyons" 5:30pm - 7pm PRE-REGISTRATION ONLY Email: by March 15

The trails at Matthiessen & Starved Rock close at dark daily, unless you are attending a guided hike such as this one with the Park Interpreter! Enjoy a 2 mile hike under the glow of the full moon! Meet at the LaSalle & Tonti Canyon parking lot off of Route 71.

March 24th -"The Illinois Indians: History and Culture in Illinois"

A number of states are named after Native American Tribes, and one of them is the state of Illinois! Journey through the early history of the Illinos Indians with Dr. Dan Hechenberger in this fascinating program. 1:30pm

April 2019

April 14th"Living with Wildlife: A Balance Helping Nature"

Have you ever wondered what to do with a baby animal, or an injured or orphaned animal? Join Nancy Johnson, of the 2nd Hand Ranch from Princeton, Illinois as she talks about her life as a licensed wildlife rescuer and reabilitator. She will help you understand how to live with wildlife on and off the trail. 1:30pm

April 27th "-Ecology of Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers"

The onset of spring brings beautiful wildflowers to woodlands of Illinois. Starved Rock State Park is home to a rich variety of common and rare spring ephemeral wildflowers. These plants deploy an amazing array of strategies to deal with the challenges of living on the forest floor. This talk by botanist and SIU instructor Chris Benda, The Illinos Botanizer, will cure your winter blues by discussing the myriad of adaptations by these interesting plants. 1:30pm


May-october -2019

May 2019

MAY 4th* & 5th - Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage

Volunteer guided hikes will leave the Visitor Center at 9:30am, 11am & 1pm both days in search of our spring treasures.

Choose your hike: Starved Rock & French Canyon - 3/4 mile; Eagle Cliff & Lover's Leap Overlook s- 1.4miles; Wildcat Canyon & Overlooks 2miles.

Join experienced naturalists both park staff and volunteers for a one of a kind trail experience to find spring ephemerals (wildflowers) and learn about their natural history. Waterfalls should be flowing!

May 19th - Wildlife Prarie Park presents "Amazing Animals of Illinois"

Join Wildlife Prairie Park staff and a few of their friends with fur, scales, feathers and tails! You will be introduced to an array of mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians all found in our state. A family fun program with live animals. 1:30pm

May 27th* MONDAY - "Memorial Day Guided Hike"

Join the Park Naturalist at 9:30am to the top of Starved Rock and into French Canyon 3/4 mile round trip, hike will last 1 1/2 hours.

JUNE 2019

June 1st* SATURDAY - "National Trails Day Celebration"

Celebrate the day with the Park Naturalist! Hike to the top of Starved Rock and into the bottom of French Canyon. Learn about the history and the geology of the Park. Meet at the VC at 9:30am or 1pm . Hike lasts about 1 1/2 hrs- 3/4 mile.

Sadie the Starved Rock Eagle and Smokey Bear will be on hand at the visitor Center for a meet & greet!

June 21st* FRIDAY - "Summer Solstice Sunrise Trek at Matthiessen Dells Area" 6:30am-8am


Enjoy a peaceful summer solstice morning before the crowds set in for waterfall viewing and trail trekking. Meet Lisa Sons, Park Interpreter, at the Matthiessen Dells area Fort next to Matthiessen's main parking lot.

September 2019

September 2nd* - MONDAY "Labor Day Guided Hike" 9:30am

Interpretive hikes will take visitors to the top of Starved Rock and into French Canyon, 3/4 mile.

September 8th - "Monarch Mania Program"

Every fall thousands of Monarch butterflies migrate south to Central Mexico! Come out and learn all about these fascinating creatures from Doug Taron of the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network and Illinois Nature Museum in Chicago. You will have the opportunity to see the process of tagging and releasing Monarchs for research. 1:30pm

october 2019

October 19th* & 20th - Fall Colors Weekend

Join the Starved Rock guides as we hike to overlooks and canyons to view spectacular colors and learn about the geology & history of the Park. Hikes leaves at 9:30am, 11am, & 1pm both days., Choose your hike: Starved Rock & French Canyon - 3/4 mile; Eagle Cliff & Lover's Leap Overlook s- 1.4miles; Wildcat Canyon & Overlooks 2miles.

October 26th* -SATURDAY 1 - 2pm "Incredible Bats!"

In this 1 hour program you will get an overview of the world of bats, as we separate fact from fiction surrounding these nocturnal creatures. With our multi-media presentation and our live Egyptian Fruit and African bats; your view of bats will never be the same again! 1 - 2pm

October 26th* - SATURDAY 2:30pm "Halloween Tales & Stories"

The Starved Rock Story Teller, Bill Myers, will entertain you with spooky and not so spooky tales. A great time for all ages.2:30-3:30pm

October 26th* - SATURDAY "Haunted Trails and Tales - Ghosts of Starved Rock's Past"

PRE-REGISTRATION ONLY Email: by October 19

Guided Hikes leave at 5:30, 5:45,6,6:15 and 6:30pm from the Visitor Center to Starved Rock.

Luminary lit trail hikes to the top of Starved Rock with appearances of "the ghosts of Starved Rock's past" through living interpretation. Tales will be told.....what will you believe, see or hear in the dark, dark woods!

NOVEMber 2019

November 10th -"SOAR, With Live birds of Prey"

SOAR: Save Our American Raptors will be on hand with falcons, owls, and hawks! See these remarkable birds up close and learn about their impressive adaptions and behaviors. 1:30pm

November 15th* FRIDAY - "Full Moon Night Hike" 5:30pm - 7pm

PRE-REGISTRATION ONLY Email: by November 8

The trails at Starved Rock close at dark daily unless you are attending a hike such as this with the Park Interpreter. Enjoy a 1.5 mile trail to Lover's Leap and Eagle Cliff overlooks along the boardwalk overlooking the Illinois River under the glow of the full moon!

DECEMber 2019

December 21* SATURDAY - "Winter Solstice Sunrise Hike" 7am-8:30am PRE- REGISTRATION ONLY Email: by December 14

Meet at the parking lots to Kaskaskia & Ottawa Canyons along Route 71, close to the Park's east entrance. Nothing compares to the solitude of a winter hike at dawn!