Home Camping Adventures 3 Beautiful Illinois State Parks You Need To Explore This Winter
3 Beautiful Illinois State Parks You Need To Explore This Winter

5 min

September 7, 2023

The Illinois landscape is beautiful in the warmer months, but the snow brings a little extra magic every year. From ice climbing and cross country skiing to frozen waterfalls and snow-filled canyons, you are sure to find have some epic winter adventures here.

Here are 3 state parks in Illinois that need to be on your winter bucket list.

Starved Rock State Park


Curtis Abert

Starved Rock is well-loved for it’s canyons and waterfalls in the warmer months, but the winter season brings out a whole different side of this park. You can explore Starved Rock by foot all year round, and during the snowy season there’s an excellent chance you will see frozen waterfalls in the canyons and bald eagles from Lover’s Leap and Eagle Cliff. Cross country skiing is allowed in the picnic area, and if temperatures permit, you can go ice climbing in up to five different canyons.

Matthiessen State Park


Justin Meiseen

Only a few miles from Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen boasts icy streams, sandstone canyons, frozen waterfalls, and beautiful forests. You can enjoy 6 miles of beautiful cross-country ski trails or 5 miles of winter hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult, or just sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Moraine Hills State Park

29726455 - frozen defiance creek in moraine hills state park in illinois

Made up of lakes, wetlands, and wooded hills, this park features over 10 miles of trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. The hills and ridges are a great wind-blocker, and winter is a wonderful time for birding in the park. Lake Defiance is the centerpiece of Moraine Hills, and if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy the snowy landscape in solitude, this is the place to be.

Ready to start your winter adventure? Explore Illinois campgrounds on Camp Native, discover your perfect campsite, and book your reservation online!

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