Matthiessen State Park
Canyons, streams, prairie and forest combine to delight visitors at Matthiessen State Park. Located in central LaSalle County, approximately 4 miles south of Utica and 3 miles east of Oglesby, 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 a special outing.
Matthiessen State Park is Starved Rock's little sister. Just down the road, I suspect most visitors to Matthiessen come after visiting the larger and more famous sibling. Matthiessen suffers from the same draw backs as Starved Rock as well - it is usually way to crowded! If you looking for a nice quiet day hike in nature with a minimum amount of interference by other human beings, this is not the place to go. Especially in the warmer months. My suggestion for either park is to visit on a week day in Winter. About the only time you can hope to enjoy the park in peace. Matthiessen does have some beautiful "dells" formations, basically high cliffs or canyons that follow to course of a shallow creek. Unfortunately, the man made infrastructure that dots the park, though helping with accessibility, takes away from the parks natural beauty.
Beautiful Park! Went up there for a day trip and was not disappointed. So much beautiful scenery! I went there on a weekday and so there were not as many people. There are also lots of hidden nooks and crannies to go. I would recommend water shoes because you will have to walk through water at some points if you want to see some of the features there. Overall a great place!
i went early today so i wouldn't be bothered by lots of people. it was worth it. got a couple miles worth of hiking in and checked out the caves, waterfalls and trails. had a great time. bring decent waterproof hiking boots, trails can get kind of muddy and do cross the stream a couple times if you take the trails that lead down by the water. dog friendly, saw tons of them. if you have trouble with stairs, you may want to avoid the place, there are stairs to get down to the hiking trails and additional stairs to get to different trails.
One of the best state parks within 100 mile from Chicago area. Also kind of hidden gem. Definitely worth of visiting in any time of year. All the glory goes to Starved Rock but Matthiessen is really better in my opinion.
Great hiking trails. Beautiful waterfalls. You might want to bring waterproof shoes.