“an enchanting state park with unusual rock formations througout”
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.HistoryThe park is near Oglesby, in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States. It is named for Frederick William Matthiessen, who had originally owned the of property that is at the core of the current park. Two mansions, several cottages, a garage, and a private fire station were built here by Matthiessen for his family. It was an estate that hosted a private park known as "Deer Park". The park was donated to Illinois by Matthiessen's heirs, following his death in 1918, and was renamed in his honor in 1943. Since then, land was added, growing the park to. The last building of the former estate was destroyed in 1981, although some of the concrete stairs leading into the canyon are of the original construction.The park is centered on a stream that flows from Matthiessen Lake to the Vermilion River. The stream has eroded partway through the sandstone layers, leaving interesting rock formations and drops. The Upper Dells begin at Matthiessen Lake with the Lake Falls, which drop into the canyon below, and continue downstream to the 45ft Cascade Falls where the Lower Dells begin. The interesting coloration of many of the canyons is the result of minerals in the groundwater. Many mineral springs exist throughout the park, providing salt lick spots for the large deer population.
If you are close enough to go to this park, save yourself some time and keep driving to Starved Rock. It is so much nicer than this place. We visited in the early fall and you could not get to many of the nicer falls without wading in the water up to your ankle or higher. If the park was by itself, I might rate it a little higher, but just a few miles down the road is a much nicer place. We spent two days at Starved Rock and then went here, but left after walking the big loop and went back to Starved Rock for more adventure.
Very decent hiking, unique geological formations, nearby camping. Some side trails not clearly marked, leading to dead-end. Park maps too large scale, see OSM maps for details.
Approximately just 2,5 hours from Chicago, exists this hiking paradise. When we went we were surprised on what we saw.
Every step you take, there is something new to discover. Weather and time conditions formed the rocks existing on place. You can hike over the rocks, enter the small caves and admire the little secrets kept well underneath.
Birds follow your trails and accompany you in each step. You can see them searching for their food and creating their nests at the natural surroundings.
We all got excited about this place and it took us around 4 hours to walk it through.
Beautiful! Your feet will get wet so be prepared. Parking can not be the greatest. You can have BBQ there too. Don't leave your camera behind. On a hot day swim in the water. Will for sure go back!
I only got to spend a few hours here but it was beautiful. There were plenty of waterfalls and streams and it seemed very secluded. I would definitely go again
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Matthiessen State Park
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