Starved Rock State Park - Lasalle Canyon and Tonty Canyon Trail

The weather in late October is usually pretty crappy around here.  I can't remember a Halloween in recent years where it hasn't been cold and rainy or even freezing and snowing! But this year, it was amazing! So for my birthday hike we headed back to Starved Rock to take advantage of the sweet weather.  We decided to do the Lasalle Canyon trail and swing through Tonty Canyon on the way out.  It was so nice out we were going to attempt to hike to the trailhead from the Visitor's Center, but we got to the parking lot and realized that we for got the carrier!  So we ended up driving to the trailhead and Weston ended up taking his first hike without being carried part of the way! 

Since it was so nice out, there were soooo many people at the park!  We managed to find a parking spot close by - despite a European tourist group trying to park their giant camper van in a parking lot made for regular cars - and start hiking pretty quickly.  

The Lasalle Canyon trail starts off pretty flat, drops down towards the river's edge and then winds around the riverside into Lasalle Canyon.  Of course there is the ubiquitous steep staircase to climb down; but it makes the trail so much nicer and accessible.

StarvedRock_LasalleCanyon_1

We met a Mom and her small daughter on the trail and Mom was teaching her how to take pictures.  Weston saw and for the rest of the trip he wanted to take pictures of things we saw on the trail.  He captured this cool hollowed-out tree pretty well, but the rest, well, lets just say he's learning ;)

At the bottom of the staircase the trail winds around around follows the river.  There is a nice spot to sit and enjoy the view and have some snacks.  The rocks by the water are slippery though, so make sure you stay close to little ones. 

The trail then turns into Lasalle Canyon.  Unusual to Starved Rock, this trail actually loops behind the waterfall and you can hike back on the other side of the canyon!  It was pretty neat to be under the waterfall, although I am not sure Knox knew what to do as water kept dripping on his head. We met a nice family who took our picture for us and I planned to use it for our New Years card, but I never got around to making one!

  I was a little worried about how Weston would do on this trail without the carrier. It's at least a 3 -mile hike, but he pretty much hiked the whole thing himself!

I was a little worried about how Weston would do on this trail without the carrier. It's at least a 3 -mile hike, but he pretty much hiked the whole thing himself!

                                                                                                     Behind the waterfall!

                                                                                                    Behind the waterfall!

After going under the waterfall you can head back the way you came or loop around to hike on the other side of the canyon.  We chose to loop around and check out Tonty Canyon, a side trail. I don't have many pics of Tonty Canyon.  The trail was narrow and once we got in the canyon it was a little muddy and slippery.  But we took our time and helped Weston negotiate some narrow spots and slippery rocks.  We definitely got our feet wet, but it was worth it.  The rock formations in Tonty were pretty cool and although there was only one this late in the year, it usually has a double waterfall! 

Starved Rock never ceases to amaze me!  All of the canyons are similar, yet completely different and there is always something new to experience.  For information on other trails in the park check out my posts on Illinois Canyon (best for new hikers with small kids) and the St. Louis Canyon trails.


STARVED ROCK STATE PARK

2688 East 873 Road

Oglesby, Il 61348

Phone: (815) 667-4906

Trails open Sunrise to Sunset

Check website for lodge hours

 

ACTIVITIES

HIKING    WILDLIFE VIEWING    HORSEBACK RIDING    CANOEING/KAYAKING/RAFTING    CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING    SNOW SHOEING     ICE CLIMBING    HISTORIC LODGE    PICNIC GROUNDS    CAMPING


OTHER

RUSTIC TRAILS - BRING CARRIER

STEEP BLUFFS - KEEP CHILDREN CLOSE AND WATCH YOUR STEP

TRAILS IN THE CANYON CAN BE WET AND SLIPPERY - BRING CHANGE OF SHOES IF SHOES ARE NOT WATERPROOF

DOG FRIENDLY - NO DOGS ALLOWED INSIDE EXCEPT FOR GUIDE ANIMALS

PICNIC AREA


SEE YOU ON THE TRAIL!