Exploring Fall Colors in the Starved Rock State Park Area

The Starved Rock State Park area can be a great destination for nature lovers to explore, but if you want outdoor adventures without the crowds, here’s your insider’s guide to our top secret spots to enjoy fall colors in the Starved Rock State Park area near our Illinois cabins.

Woman in a sundress running through a field during fall

Dayton Bluffs

Dayton Bluffs is the ideal destination for guests who are seeking untamed wilderness. Visitors can experience a land rich with history, and immerse themselves in ageless and unhurried growth while exploring the rivers and ravines. Less than a half-hour drive from our cabins, this preserve will provide the peacefulness of being in the middle of nowhere. Their Native American Land Acknowledgment Statement formally honors and pays respects to the Indigenous Peoples who have been the venerable custodians of this land, recognizing the connection between Indigenous Peoples and their ancestral domains.

Group of kids hiking in the forest in Starved Rock State Park

Nell’s Woodland

Nell’s Woodland is a brand new park featuring an amazing 58-acre nature preserve that provides the opportunity to experience the peace and enchantment of the surrounding landscape. They focus on providing programs that support three spheres of stewardship: Ecology, Wellness, and the Arts by offering gathering spaces, a variety of self-directed recreational and social activities, and opportunities to inspire new ideas and forge new relationships and partnerships. They are open to the public on Sundays and Mondays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Couple riding horses surrounded by fall colors in Starved Rock State Park

Catlin Park

Catlin Park offers an array of amenities for visitors who want to explore the outdoors without the crowds, including picnic shelters, tables, grills, hiking and biking trails, horseback riding paths, an expansive horse arena, a softball field, and convenient restrooms. Spanning 333 acres, the park boasts 14 distinct trails along with numerous connecting pathways that wind through its diverse habitat, meandering past streams and ponds. Renowned for their quality, the trails rank among the finest in the area and are frequented by horseback riders, hikers, joggers, birdwatchers, cyclists, and photographers alike.

Young boy ziplining in the woods

Echo Bluff Park in Spring Valley

Echo Bluff Park is located in historic Hall Township, on the grounds of what was once a booming mining town named Loceyville that was founded in 1877 and then later renamed Marquette. This park offers fun for the whole family, including a zipline and obstacle challenge course, hiking trails, 9-hole disc golf, archery, a premier skating rink, hockey club, and even a paintball course. There’s plenty to do here, and something for everyone in your group.

Buffalo in the wild surrounded by fall colors in Starved Rock State Park

Buffalo Rock State Park

Buffalo Rock State Park is perched upon a bluff that was once an island in the Illinois River, and now commands the river’s north bank, offering an expansive vista of the waterway. Serenely situated roughly 3 miles west of Ottawa in LaSalle County, this 298-acre haven has remained a beloved destination for picnicking and nature aficionados alike. The grounds of Buffalo Rock once echoed with the presence of the Illinois Indians, a witness to the historic voyage of French explorer Louis Jolliet and Jesuit missionary priest Father Jacques Marquette in 1673. Visitors can see majestic buffalo here, iconic animals that display an awe-inspiring blend of power and grace amidst their natural habitat.

Couple enjoying fall colors in Starved Rock State Park

Sandy Ford Land and Water Reserve

Sandy Ford Land and Water Reserve is an enchanting 200-acre natural haven situated on the picturesque east bank of the Vermilion River. This serene landscape was shaped by the remarkable forces of the Wisconsin glaciation during the late Pleistocene era, forming the stunning Farm Ridge Moraine at its western edge. Explorers will discover a tapestry of natural wonders including creeks, forests, prairies, and cliffs. The adjacent Vermilion River adds to the enchantment, its glistening waters flowing over rubble-strewn riffles, sheltering rare and remarkable fish species, including the state-endangered Greater Redhorse and the state-threatened River Redhorse.

Comfortable bed in the Bridge Cabin

Book Your Fall Getaway

After a day of exploring the area, unwinding in the tranquil natural surroundings is pure bliss! Whether on the cabin’s porch or around a campfire, it’s the perfect way to reconnect with nature and recharge at Kishauwau Cabins. Come make yourself at home today!