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Fall Hiking Recommendations

Recommendations to enhance your Fall hiking experience.
Hennepin Canyon Trail

Unsure about whether to wear that extra warm sweatshirt or light jacket. You want to see the fall colors during their peak, but not sure when that is.

We’ve put together the most anticipated questions around hiking at Starved Rock during Fall to help make your day a breeze (hopefully not too cold as it’s fall, not winter!). Here are our recommendations for hiking at Starved Rock during the Fall season;

Be prepared for changes in temperature - It’s Central IL

It’s not uncommon for the temperature to change considerably during a Fall day. Make sure to be prepared for colder and warmer weather than you expect. This means layers are essential, so make sure you can easily remove or add a layer if need be.


Look at Fall Color reports

The colors change at varying rates throughout Illinois, so the intensity of fall colors in different areas of the state will fluctuate. Also, different trees may change at different times. Because of this we recommend checking a fall colors report before your hike, like the one by the Illinois Office of Tourism or this national site. We’ll also do our best to keep hikers informed via our Hikers group on Facebook. Click here to join for free!

While it's hard to predict when the colors will be in their peak, we believe it's generally the third or fourth week in October. Some reports may recommend earlier, but our data from the 2019-2022 seasons show the last two weeks of October as generally being the best for Fall colors.

Don’t get caught in the dark

As winter approaches, daylight shortens every day. Make sure to not get stuck on the trails after dark, and always plan to be back earlier than expected. Make sure to check when sunset is on the day of your hike and be back before then!

Take your camera (and extra batteries!)

With so much to see, you’re sure to be taking photos left and right! Literally, there will be leaves falling as you hike, so at the same time make sure not to miss them. It’s a good idea to bring extra batteries for cameras and cell phones, as Fall colors only happen once a year, and you won’t want to miss these spectacular sights. Lastly, while photos do last forever, we remind you to disconnect every now and then and take it all in. After all, you chose to immerse yourself in nature (and not the local coffee shop) for a reason!

Know where to go

As the seasons change, conditions and features along the trails change too. For example Fall is not the best time of the year to see a waterfall, so opting for that bluff trail that leads you to an overlook may be a better route. We recommend going over your hike before leaving the trailhead to make sure that’s the hike you want to do. After all, Fall only lasts for a short amount of time so it’s important to spend your time wisely. It’s also important to remember that while going on a windy day may result in a colder hike, there’s more of a chance to see leaves falling off the trees.

Eagle Cliff Overlook


As a reminder, we are asking every person who hikes to a waterfall to submit a waterfall flow rate report on our website at This takes less than 60 seconds and can be completed for all the major waterfalls within Starved Rock State Park. You can also attach photos/video clips of the waterfall.

Don’t forget to tag us and use the hashtag #starvedrockhikers when sharing all of your Fall hiking adventures! We’ll also do our best to keep hikers informed via our Hikers group on Facebook. Click here to join for free!

See you on the trail!!

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Every time you purchase a product from Starved Rock Hikers, you are also helping the park. A portion of our annual proceeds are donated to the Starved Rock Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Starved Rock & Matthiessen through educational programs, guided hikes, exhibit updates, and more.

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