A lot of you have heard about a nice state park called Starved Rock but many people don’t know a lot of the hidden joys that the park or the surrounding area has to offer. Starved Rock is mainly a summer hangout for people to visit. There are miles of trails to hike, numerous canyons to discover and a atmosphere to think, picnic, and to enjoy the company of friends or a significant other in. You could even take a day for yourself to melt into the colors, sounds and serene landscapes, away from the rush of college.
After a nice summer rain, you will be fortunate enough to catch the water careening off the cliffs from above and your ears will be treated to the sounds of the bubbling brew below. Once the summer months pass and the cold sets in, people tend to stray away from outdoor activity but some real beautiful scenes occur at the park once the deep freeze comes. The waterfall becomes a living painting, a powerful rush of water frozen in time against the quiet backdrop of winter. You may even catch a glimpse of climbers scaling the frozen waterfalls during your early year visit.
For those that enjoy wildlife viewing as much as I do, Eagles are a common sight from the overlooks at Starved Rock. The bald eagles winter here because even when the river is encased in ice, the churn from the dam leaves a small portal open to the water below. It is the only place for miles where they can catch a fish. Because of that, you can see more eagles than you’ve seen in a lifetime in a single day with the right set of binoculars, some really warm clothes, and some good old fashioned patience.
The town adjacent to the park is Ottawa and it can be just as fun to discover as Starved Rock. History buffs can relive the Lincoln-Douglas debates which occurred there some 9 score and 5 years ago while adrenaline junkies can get their fix with Sky Diving companies that operate just outside of town.
There’s lots of quaint shops as well if you’re going with the family. You can pawn off your mother and grandparents to the local antique shops while you and the siblings hike through canyons and jump out of planes. Whatever you do, if you haven’t gone I urge you to make it out to starved rock. Even if you have been, explore it in a different season and surprise yourself. It’s incredible to see how vastly different the same place can be at different times of the year. Make it a day trip, camp out near the park, or shack up in a cozy cabin, either way I hope you will make it a point to give this hidden treasure so close to NIU a visit. 2.0out