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The Boys Running Around St. Louis Canyon
Starved Rock State Park
I've been to Starved Rock State Park quite a few times, but I really never explored the canyons until last February. This week, the weather was warm enough to melt the ice covering the narrow paths, but cool enough to keep the crowd away, and wet enough to keep the waterfalls flowing! Last time, we couldn't even walk around the canyons due to the ice on the paths. One slip and the family could fall 80 feet down. The paths at points are around 4 feet wide with sheer drops on the side.
We decided to take the hour drive and explore St. Louis Canyon, an 80 foot deep canyon carved in the limestone and sandstone. At this moist time of year, the waterfall was flowing perfectly into the canyon, but at first as you enter the canyon you can't see it, the rock walls curve toward the waterfall obscuring the view until the last minute. Then, as you round the curve, the waterfall makes a huge impression!
Multi-colored rock lines the canyon, and the floor is comprised of fallen stone and light colored sand. The walls are dotted with trees, moss and ferns - even now in the cold weather!
Well worth the trip, especially when it has been raining a couple of days before, the canyons at Starved Rock are a great place to visit year-round.