When it comes to Illinois hiking, most of the attention is turned to Garden of the Gods, and Starved Rock State Park.  While those are both great parks with excellent hiking and beautiful attractions, there is another state park just down the road from Starved Rock, that is just as beautiful and has several amazing waterfalls of its own.

This picture was provided by Tonya Kay Boyd Photography

Matthiessen State Park is located just 2.5 miles south of the famous Starved Rock!  Matthiessen is a paradise for those interested in geology, as well as recreation. Visitors can expect to see beautiful rock formations in addition to unusual and abundant vegetation and wildlife. All of this, along with park and picnic facilities, make Matthiessen State Park a popular choice for an outing.

This picture was provided by Tonya Kay Boyd Photography

Canyons, streams, waterfalls, prairie and forest combine to delight visitors at Matthiessen State Park.  One of the  main attractions is, Lake Falls, this is a man made dam with a 65-foot-tall waterfall!

This picture was provided by Tonya Kay Boyd Photography

The main hiking trails are separated into two sections by a 45 foot drop from  the upper dells to the lower dells.  The trails navigate you through the limestone canyon, and feature stunning sites, including a cave, towering bluffs, and several waterfalls.

This picture was provided by Tonya Kay Boyd Photography

Matthiessen State Park is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors without having to fight the crowds over at Starved Rock. Come visit Matthiessen State Park and find out why it’s considered one of Iowa’s best kept secrets!

Don’t Miss:  While visiting the park be sure to walk thru the cave passage located in the lower dells area, that leads to the waterfall pictured above.

Lodging:  The Starved Rock Lodge has two different lodging options, a  rustic hotel room in the Lodge or a charming log cabin in the woods. The Lodge has a variety of rooms to choose from.  Ask about the pet-friendly cabins, two-room cabins or cabins with a fireplace! Relax and unwind in the indoor pool, hot tub and sauna!

Pit Stop:  The Back Door Lounge is a great place to fuel up before a hike or cool off with a locally brewed craft beer.

Extended Play:  For an added bonus, stop by nearby Starved Rock State Park, and check out 14 more waterfalls and several deep canyons, located just 3 miles North of Starved Matthiessen State Park.

Logistics: Matthiessen State Park is an Illinois state park located a few miles south of the more famous Starved Rock State Park. The main entrances to both parks are located on Illinois State Route 178, the entrance is located at 2500 IL-178, Oglesby, IL 61348

Travel Smart:  Before venturing into the woods, be sure to pack sunscreen, bugspray, and plenty of snacks and drinking water.

To view more amazing pictures of Illinois best State Parks click here:  Tonya Kay Boyd Photography