Roadtrip to Starved Rock and Sketch


Last weekend I had the chance to take a road trip to Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL. It’s the perfect get-a-way…not too far…not too close…1.5 hours from home is just right.

I had the day planned (so I thought) by printing out a map and selecting many trails. Too many actually. I didn’t come close to hiking as much as I wanted. The trails kicked by butt and the day was hot, leaving me exhausted.

First stop was Tonti Canyon. I read on the Starved Rock web site that if you had any chance at seeing a waterfall Tonti Canyon was a good bet. That’s our first stop.


Ooooo, don’t you love that golden wall of rock! Yeah!

Unfortunately, Illinois (and much of the country) is going through a terrible drought. Luckily that morning, Utica just happened to have a storm. Luckily for us that meant a trickling waterfall!

I took a video with my camera

There’s nothing better than a nature shower. And that is exactly what I had, a real shower from nature, as I stood under the gentle waterfall and let the water soak me. It felt great on this hot day.


I love the niches at the base of the rock that you can hide in.


Along our trail ran the Illinois River. One day these pictures will become a watercolor sketch. For now, we just take in the beauty.


This is looking at Owl Overlook. Owl Canyon is near by. Believe it or not, we did not see any owls but we did hear one!


You can’t go to Starved Rock without going on Starved Rock. So here we are. I took you all the way up to the top. This view is looking South.


And this view is looking Northwest. Can you see the people in the canoe? We are very high up and it was super, super hot….I was sweating buckets actually….now where is that waterfall when you need it.


After a long day hiking, it is time to retreat at the Lodge for a nice dinner on the deck. What a gorgeous view! Can you see Starved Rock in the sketch? Because of the drought, many of the trees on top of Starved Rock are totally brown. Some are changing prematurely, probably from stress.

I hope you enjoyed this quick trip. Sometimes getting away and taking a break is exactly what is needed. And I agree.


  1. What a lovely place to visit. Glad you had a bit of a waterfall. You ended up with a great sketch to remember your day.

  2. Wow! Does this bring back memories! Though I no longer live in Illinois I grew up taking trips to Starved Rock. Too bad the drought has been so devastating on the area. The waterfall was always a nice place to spend some time. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Absolutely refreshing! I think my hair’s even a little wet– was I sitting too close to the screen, I wonder??

    Dinner on the deck– sounds lovely. And boy, food sure does taste better after one has “earned” it by pumping the ol’ muskles, as Popeye would say.

    Lovely sketch at the end, too– complete with viewfinder! Thanks for the tour, Christine– glad you had a good time! : )

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