The "Visit a Canyon Tour" consists of the following: When checking in for the tour you will be given a Starved Rock map backpack with a bottle of water and a package of Hiker's Trail Mix. You will board a trolley in front of the Lodge for a historic tour. Trolley stops at the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center for a beautiful view and photos of the Starved Rock. Next the trolley will take you through the Village of Utica and tell you a little bit about the Illinois and Michigan Canal. While aboard the trolley, the driver and guide will tell legends and history of Starved Rock and the the Lodge. From the village of Utica the trolley will then take you to the Council Overhang/Ottawa canyon parking area where you will be dropped off with a guide for a scenic walk into the canyon and back. Getting back on the trolley, they will take you to the park's Visitor Center for a short stop before concluding the tour at the Lodge.
There are quite a bit of wildflowers and other interesting things to look at while on the trail. Can you find these?
|Wild Ginger (notice the heart shaped leaf) flowers are underneath the leaves|
|False Solomon's Seal (notice the small flower spray coming out the end). The "Real" Solomon's Seal has small white flowers under the opposing green leaves on the stem.|
|Virginia Waterleaf (this flower is almost past)|
|Bladder Nut (small tree /bush)|
|Who has a good imagination? See the hiking boot in the sandstone? It's kind of like finding shapes in clouds.|
|You can take this flat trail or go up the small incline in the photo below to Council Overhang|
|Eroding incline to Council Overhang|
|View of Council Overhang looking out. Photo taken from the back wall.|
|Continuing into the canyon, this mini Council Overhang can be seen on your left.|
|This tour will go in to Ottawa Canyon. Kaskaskia is for another day....|
|Near the Ottawa/Kaskaskia sign is a patch of "Snake Grass" This is one of the very few places it grows in the park.|
|Stepping stones into Ottawa Canyon|
|View going into Ottawa Canyon. Almost there.|
|Ottawa Canyon Waterfall|
There are plenty of other things to see on this tour. This tour is offered June -September on Mondays from 10:00-12:30, Saturdays from 10:00-12:30 & 12:30-3:00, and Sundays from 10:00-2:30p.m.
I will leave you with this: Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.