French, Wildcat, LaSalle Canyons and Overlooks
4 - 4.5 hr
About the Hike:
See French Canyon - a popular, long canyon with a 45ft dropoff and frozen waterfall, Wildcat Canyon - the park’s deepest canyon at 90 feet tall that frequently has ice climbers, and LaSalle Canyon - the only canyon allowing hikers to walk behind frozen falls at Starved Rock. Visit Sandstone Point and take in the incredible winter views in the middle of the park. This trail also takes you to Beehive, Eagle Cliff, and Lovers Leap overlooks. This 4-4.5 mile hike is on the longer side, but allows hikers to see the best of what Starved Rock has to offer.
Start at the Visitor Center and go straight to French Canyon. Then exit the canyon and go up the steps to the southernmost trail, east to Wildcat Canyon via the bluff trail. After Wildcat Canyon, hike back up the stairs and proceed left to Sandstone Point Overlook via the bluff trail. Then, continue east and head down the stairs, catching the river trail to LaSalle Canyon. Once you cross the stone bridge, go right. After LaSalle Canyon, start hiking back via the river trail. There are multiple opportunities to switch back to a bluff trail, and see Beehive Overlook, Eagle Cliff Overlook, and/or Lovers Leap Overlook. Lastly, end at the Visitor Center.
10+ staircases, paved, unpaved, and natural stone footholds. Potential snow on trails, icy stairs and footholds. It is not recommended to enter French Canyon if ice has formed.