Visit the rocky prominence that is at the heart of a Native American legend.
According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Starved Rock State Park derives its name from a Native American legend of injustice and retribution.
In the 1760s, Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa tribe upriver from here, was slain by an Illiniwek while attending a tribal council in southern Illinois. According to the legend, during one of the battles that subsequently occurred to avenge his killing, a band of Illiniwek, under attack by a band of Potawatomi (allies of the Ottawa), sought refuge atop a 125-foot sandstone butte. The Ottawa and Potawatomi surrounded the bluff and held their ground until the hapless Illiniwek died of starvation--giving rise to the name “Starved Rock.”
Today, the park’s natural beauty and 17 miles of trails and 18 canyons attract more than two million visitors annually. The park features hiking trails, canoe rental, horse rental, boat rides, lodge, campground, visitor center, and guided hikes.