Thursday, September 17, 2009
The major attraction in the town of Utica is Starved Rock State Park. The park got its name from an incident that happened in the 1760's, when the chief of the Ottawa tribe, Pontiac, was slain by a member of the Illiniwek tribe while attending a tribal council in southern Illinois. According to legend, during one of the many battles that occurred to avenge Pontiac's death, a band of Illiniwek, who were under attack by a group of Potawatomi (allies of the Ottawa) sought refuge atop a 125-foot sandstone butte. The Ottawa and Potawatomi surrounded the bluff and held their ground until the Illiniwek died of starvation - thus the name "Starved Rock."
The park covers 2,816 acres, which includes 18 canyons that all have waterfalls after the winter thaw and spring rains, and 16 different hiking trails from as short as 0.3 miles to as long as 4.7 miles. Starved Rock State Park is best known for its rock formations and sandstone bluffs which run along the Illinois River.
The road into the park:
Some of the park grounds:
This is the Illinois River that runs alongside of the park.
See how low the river is here? Just a few months ago, with all the spring rains, the river actually rose OVER that wall, flooding that whole area, the parking lot, all the way up to the entrance road.
Here is the waterfall at St. Louis Canyon:
Led to this waterfall:
One of many rock formations:
You can stay at one of the cabins in the park. I've never seen inside of one, but the outside looks inviting.
Here's a sign they have posted in the parking lot. They really need to change it. Looks like swimming is only allowed if you are an alien.
NEXT POST: STARVED ROCK LODGE