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Ice Climbing at
Starved Rock State Park

An unexpected thrill for this exhilarating activity in the heart of the Midwest.

About Ice Climbing at Starved Rock State Park:

Explore the enchanting transformation of Starved Rock State Park during winter, where icefalls form in the canyons under the right conditions. This natural phenomenon sets the stage for a unique experience as ice climbers from across the Midwest gather to scale the frozen waterfalls at Ottawa, LaSalle, and Wildcat Canyons, turning the park into a winter wonderland adventure for all who brave the cold. If you find yourself at the park during the winter season, you might just witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of climbers conquering these icy heights amidst the beauty of Starved Rock State Park.

A few basics to remember:

  • Please be aware that climbing involves inherent risks.

  • Ice climbing is permitted from 7 a.m. to dusk, and climbers must wrap up before dark.

  • It is the climber's responsibility to assess the ice conditions for safety.

  • Climbers must bring their own equipment and ensure they have prior ice climbing experience.

  • Only experienced climbers are permitted to climb, and must always climb with a partner or group, never alone.

Let's preserve the beauty of the park:

  • Protect fragile resources like sandstone; avoid impacting it with equipment.

  • Equipment should only touch the ice or ice falls, not the sandstone.

  • No rock climbing or scaling the rock walls – let's keep the park formations untouched


All ice climbers who climb at Starved Rock State Park must adhere to Illinois Department of Natural Resources rules, regulations, and guidelines which can be found by clicking the link below. You will be redirected to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website.

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