The Most Impressive Waterfalls at Starved Rock & Matthiessen this Spring.
Springtime is the best time for seeing waterfalls in Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks. Snowmelt and increased rainfall help the canyons that are not spring-fed, flow just as much as those that are. However, with rain comes muddy trail conditions, so make sure to be prepared! If you’re looking for recent information about which falls are currently flowing, we encourage hikers to ask in our Starved Rock Hikers Community Facebook Group.
Here are our top 5 waterfalls to visit in Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks this spring.
Starved Rock State Park
LaSalle Canyon, located in the heart of Starved Rock, is one of the most iconic waterfalls the park is home to. This 25ft waterfall is likely to be flowing year round and is especially beautiful in the spring when it is flowing in full force. It is also one of the only waterfalls in the park you can walk behind and get a full 360 degree view of! Truly one of our favorites.
St. Louis Canyon
Known for being the site of the infamous Starved Rock murders, St. Louis Canyon is also known for having one of the tallest waterfalls in Illinois. You won’t want to pass this one on your next trip out! Hiking there is also very easy as it is only a short hike from the park entrance off Route 178 (across from the Grand Bear Resort). If this parking lot is full, the trail can also be accessed from the Starved Rock Lodge.
How often do you get to look at an 80ft waterfall….from the top looking down!?! Wildcat Canyon offers a unique perspective that other canyons do not have. You can view the waterfall from above on either the east or west overlooks that stick out over the canyon. The canyon can also be accessed from below, allowing you to walk right up to the waterfall. Wildcat Canyon typically only flows fast in the spring, making it the perfect time of the year to hike there.
Matthiessen State Park
Surrounded by one of the largest and most stunning canyons in either park, Cascade Falls is a beautiful, photogenic waterfall to see this spring. This waterfall is located in the Matthiessen State Park Lower Dells, accessible from the park’s main entrance. Cascade Falls flows well in spring and summer months especially after heavy rains. Expect muddy trail conditions during the spring.
Matthiessen State Park’s Lake Falls is one of the most recognizable waterfalls in Illinois. Flowing nearly year-round because of its attachment to Matthiessen Lake, this towering waterfall is sure not to disappoint at any time of the year. For those looking to see a great waterfall with the shortest hike, this one is for you. Take the north entrance past Deer Park Golf Club and drive down the gravel road until you reach a small parking lot. From there, the falls are close enough you should be able to hear them without taking more than a few steps into the trail! If this entrance is closed, hikers will need to park at the main parking lot by the Matthiessen Fort and hike to this location.
As a reminder, we are asking every person who hikes to a waterfall this spring/summer to submit a waterfall flow rate report on our website at www.starvedrockhikers.com/waterfall-report. 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. Your help is greatly appreciated by us and the entire Starved Rock Hikers Community.
Don’t forget to tag us and use the hashtag #starvedrockhikers when sharing all your spring 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!!