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Matthiessen State Park Waterfalls, Hiking Trails, Nature Close To Chicago

Matthiessen State Park is 1,938 acres. It’s located in LaSalle County, and just a few minutes from Starved Rock State Park.

The park is only a few hours away from Chicago and will completely take you back to nature.

The park is named for Frederick William Matthiessen, who had originally owned the property and managed it as a private park.

You will see a lot of waterfalls, and natural rock formations here.

There are definitely plenty of animals you will spot here from Eagles to Deer.

If you’re a natural love you will spot many varieties of plants, flowers and trees here also.

So if you like taking pictures some of these shots will be picture perfect!

There isn’t a visitors center here but they have a place to use the bathroom.

The park has drinking fountains, and picnic areas. There are a few pop/water machines, but they don’t have a change machine though.

If you plan on going to Starved Rock State Park then you have to come to this State Park also.

There’s a pretty deep canyon formed by water erosion that’s approximately one mile long here. It runs from Matthiessen Lake to the Vermillion River.

The canyon areas are known as the upper and lower dells.

The park has stunning views and some major drops in the area so make sure you pay attention to the trail maps, and remain safe!

There’s also a restored fort that the French built in the Midwest during the 1600s and early 1700s. There are five miles of well-marked that are well-surfaced hiking trails. The park has large trail maps that are located at all major trail intersections.

You can pick whatever route you’re interested in. Some trails are easier than others. The upper area and bluff tops are known for their easy hiking paths.

If you’re a novice hiker then try and stick with the easier trails.

The trails into the two dells may be difficult especially during spring and early summer.

Whenever you are at a state park you have to make sure you practice safety tips for the area. There are signs posted regarding what is acceptable and not, so please pay attention.

However, despite any of these parks restrictions, it can be a very enjoyable day, spending time here.

These state parks are not just limited for visiting in the warmer months but the winter also.

The Park also offers Cross Country Skiing with six miles of cross-country ski trails and ski rentals available on weekends from December through March.

So you still can get out in the winter time and get some quality physical activity in.

You can call (815) 667-5362 to check conditions and the status of the park before coming to use these facilities.

As weather permits, if you have Mountain Bikes you can bring them. If you have a horse you can ride your horse or camp out with your horse here.

The trails are also color coded and marked with the yield order triangle which symbolizes that all users yield to horse riders.

Park Tips:

    • No camping, rappelling, or rock or ice climbing are allowed.
    • Hike only the marked trails. Unmarked areas are dangerous.
    • Numerous people have been seriously injured or killed in this park. Be off the trails by dark.
    • All pets must be on a leash.
  • In case of an accident, notify the Park Business Office, 815-667-4868, or Starved Rock Park Office, 667-4726. After 4 p.m., notify the State Police, 815-224-1150.
Additional Tips:Wear old shoes and clothes. Be prepared to get dirty. Bring bug spray. Don’t forget your cameras because great photos are everywhere.

Alcohol is prohibited Jan. 1 through May 31 in the picnic area.

The main entrances to Matthiessen and Starved Rock park is located on Illinois State Route 178.

Directions Off of Interstate 80 take Exit 81, Rt. 178 to Utica, IL then five miles south on Rt 178.

Starved Rock/Matthiessen State Park

Mapquest address: 2568 E. 950th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348

References: Illinois Department of Natural Resources