Visitors planning a trip to Starved Rock State Park for the Memorial Day holiday weekend or throughout the busy summer months are advised to expect travel delays, and are encouraged to consider alternate routes to avoid congestion at the Illinois Rt. 178 bridge project near the park’s west entrance.
To ease traffic congestion, motorists traveling to Starved Rock from the east on Interstate 80 should consider exiting at Ottawa, cross the Illinois River, and approach the park from the east on Illinois Rt. 71. Motorists also can exit southbound on Interstate 39 and take the Illinois Rt. 71 exit at Oglesby.
During the Memorial Day weekend, visitors are encouraged to monitor Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates on traffic delays and temporary parking closures at Starved Rock State Park and nearby Matthiessen State Park.
Temporary parking closures occur frequently during busy holiday, summer, and fall color weekends at Starved Rock. The heaviest traffic congestion and likely times for park closures occur on weekend days between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
“Illinois Conservation Police and state park staff will be on hand monitoring traffic flows, and we encourage motorists to slow down, be patient, and follow directions near Starved Rock State Park,” said Rafael Gutierrez, chief of the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement. “While visiting Starved Rock, and all of our state parks, please follow park rules and regulations for the safety of all park visitors.”
Conservation Police strictly enforce the following safety rules at Starved Rock:
• No possession of alcohol on trails year-round
• No alcohol allowed anywhere in the park Jan. 1 – May 31
• No hiking off trails
• No climbing rock walls and cliffs
• No swimming
• No defacing sandstone walls with paint or etchings
• No littering
• No being on trails after dark
All hikers at Starved Rock State Park should stay on designated trails. St. Peter sandstone in Starved Rock can crumble and be slippery when wet.
When Starved Rock parking lots reach capacity, the park may be closed temporarily for safety reasons until parking becomes available. Motorists are reminded not to park along park roads or public highways as that may prevent emergency vehicles from getting through. Vehicles parked illegally will be towed at the owner’s expense.
Starved Rock Lodge guests and lodge restaurant guests with brunch reservations will be allowed to enter the park.
Lodge parking will be restricted to lodge patrons with reservations.
For updates, visitors may check for information on park activities and possible temporary closures as they near the park by tuning to the Starved Rock radio station on 1610 AM. Visitors can also check for updates via social media: Like the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on Facebook, and follow the IDNR on Twitter @IllinoisDNR.