Scenic USA - Illinois

Wildcat Canyon Falls

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Wildcat Canyon Falls - Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     One of the most popular Illinois state parks is also one with a most intriguing name. Centered on a string of canyons spaced along the Illinois River, Starved Rock State Park offers a wide variety of park activities that vary from fishing and boating, to hiking and horseback riding. Known as the Sauger Capitol of the World, Starved Rock draws competitive anglers from all around the state. Along with plentiful saugar, the river waters hold a variety of bullhead, white bass, walleye, catfish and crappie.
     Whether you are fishing, hiking, or just plain relaxing, comfortable cabins and the Starved Rock Lodge allow for a pleasant overnight stay. Built in the 30s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the historic dining room and Back Door Lounge offer a cozy atmosphere with one of the largest two sided fireplaces you'll ever see.
     Stretched out along the south side of the Illinois River, 18 different canyons are cut into the high, sandstone bluff line. Made up of St. Peter sandstone, the ancient Starved Rock canyons are now covered in mosses and ferns. A photographer’s delight, each canyon setting is a little different. These intriguing canyons have a way of drawing everyone further away from the visitor center. Boardwalks, well worn paths, footbridges and stairs make the going a little easier. Pictured here is the beautiful 75 foot Wildcat Canyon Falls, a seasonal waterfall mostly dependent on local weather.
     Intrigued by the Starved Rock name? A 1700s legend describes a war between two bands of Indians. After taking refuge on a rock promontory, the Illiniwek Band died of starvation when trapped there by the Ottawa tribe.
     One of the oldest parklands in the state, residents and visitors find Starved Rock and adjacent Matthiessen State Park an extraordinary area to spend the week.

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