Main parking area remains closed; park closures expected
information provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources
UTICA, Ill. (May 27, 2020) – As state parks, fish and wildlife areas, recreational areas, and historic sites prepare for a limited reopening on May 29, visitors to Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park should be aware of parking restrictions, trail access closures, and temporary closures of the sites when parking lots reach capacity.
Beginning May 29, the only entrance to Starved Rock State Park that will be open to visitors is the south entrance on Illinois Rt. 71. Due to flooding in recent weeks on the Illinois River, Starved Rock’s main lower area parking lots near the Visitor Center will remain closed for the reopening of the park. Visitors may park in the Starved Rock overflow lot, though only 300 parking spaces are available. The parking lot near the Starved Rock Lodge will be restricted to lodge patrons with reservations.
When Starved Rock/Matthiessen parking lots reach capacity, the parks will be closed temporarily for safety reasons until parking becomes available. Motorists are reminded not to park along park roads or public highways as that may prevent emergency vehicles from getting through. Vehicles parked illegally will be towed at the owner’s expense.
In recent years, temporary parking closures have occurred frequently during busy weekends at Starved Rock. The heaviest traffic congestion and likely times for park closures occur on weekend days between 11:00am and 3:00pm.
In addition, due to recent wet weather and social distancing guidelines, some trails and overlook areas at Starved Rock State Park will be remain closed to visitors until further notice. As at all IDNR sites, the Visitor Center, shelters, and playgrounds remain closed.
Visitors can monitor the Starved Rock/Matthiessen State Parks and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Facebook pages and IDNR Twitter feeds for updates on traffic delays and temporary parking closures at Starved Rock and Matthiessen.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Conservation Police will strictly enforce all regular safety rules at Starved Rock:
- No possession of alcohol on trails year-round
- No alcohol allowed anywhere in the park Jan. 1-May 31;
- No marijuana use anywhere in the park;
- No hiking off trails;
- No climbing rock walls and cliffs;
- No swimming;
- No defacing sandstone walls with paint or etchings;
- No littering;
- No being on trails after dark.
All hikers at Starved Rock State Park should stay on designated trails. St. Peter sandstone in Starved Rock can crumble and be slippery when wet.