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Trail suggestions for 12 year old

Aurora, Illinois
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284 posts
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Trail suggestions for 12 year old

I was planning to take my 12 yo daughter to Starved Rock this weekend for a day. I was wondering if there were suggestions on appropriate trails for her age? I don't want to completely wear her out but would like to take her on some really cool trails so she doesn't think it is boring! I haven't been to Starved Rock in probably 20 years. Thanks!

7 replies to this topic
Illinois
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1. Re: Trail suggestions for 12 year old

Check out the Starved Rock website (or call) before you go since some trails and the Visitor Center could still be closed because of recent flooding.

starvedrocklodge.com/flooding-closes-parts-o…

Assuming everything is open:

I don't know your daughter, but I wouldn't worry about wearing out a 12 year-old! I do understand your concern about not boring her though. If you want some short hikes, park at one of the lots on the far east side of the park, along route 71. From these two lots, you can access Council Overhang, Illinois, Kaskaskia, and Ottawa Canyons. For another short hike, park in the lot off 178, and walk back to St. Louis Canyon. We like to park at the Lodge or Visitor Center, and hike west, seeing Aurora, Sac, Kickapoo, and St. Louis Canyons; this is three miles RT. We also like to park at Parkman's Plain, then hike west to the Lodge and get a bite to eat before heading back; this is 5 miles RT. The hike up to the actual Starved Rock is interesting too. Make sure that you look at a map so that you can make a loop, hiking along the river one way and along the bluffs the other way.

Matthiessen State Park, just down the road, is just as scenic as Starved Rock. The Illinois Waterway Visitor Center across the river from Starved Rock, is another possibility if you have time.

Illinois
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2. Re: Trail suggestions for 12 year old

Here is the brochure/map for the park:

dnr.state.il.us/publications/pdf/00000005.pdf

Chicago's North...
Destination Expert
for Illinois, Chicago
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3. Re: Trail suggestions for 12 year old

second the math state park suggestion... very scenic, even more than starved rock in some cases. also, check out buffalo rock state park---there were 2 bison living there as of a coupla years ago... pretty interesting seeing semi-wild bison practically in our own back yard.... as for starved rock, none of the trails are super aggressive that i'm aware of, so i think she should be fine....

Aurora, Illinois
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4. Re: Trail suggestions for 12 year old

Thanks for the suggestions!

Aurora, Illinois
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5. Re: Trail suggestions for 12 year old

Just thought I would pop back in and post what our experience was. We got a late start and didn't make it to the park until about 11am. We hit Starved Rock, Lover's Leap, quick lunch at the visitors center, St. Louis canyon, LaSalle Canyon and Tonti Canyon. This took us until about 4pm and my daughter was definitely ready to go by then. She wasn't bored at all but she was tuckered out by 4pm. We wanted to hit Aurora canyon and Illinois canyon but will have to save that until next time. She actually loved it so much she asked to go back the next day! She liked LaSalle the best out of all we saw as there were kids playing in the water, etc. I don't know that I would go back to St. Louis canyon again as for some reason there were an enormous amount of mosquitos. It was unbelievable - we couldn't keep them off of us even with bug spray. We didn't encounter this in any other spot in the park.

Thanks for the suggestions! We had a great day!

Illinois
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6. Re: Trail suggestions for 12 year old

conniehar, My husband, son and his GF were at Starved Rock yesterday and they said there were a ton of mosquitoes there too! They also said that there wasn't any water running, which was surprising since we had seen that trails were closed due to flooding last month. I'm glad you had a fun day.

Chicago's North...
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for Illinois, Chicago
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7. Re: Trail suggestions for 12 year old

sounds like an overnighter at the starved rock lodge was in order for this trip.... maybe next time!

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