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Developed picnic areas are available to the day visitor, with tables, drinking water, and restroom facilities. Eight shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis.    The park opens at 7 a.m. daily and closes at sunset.  Alcohol is prohibited from January 1 through May 31 in the picnic area. Alcohol is always prohibited on the trails.

There are 6 shelters located in the designated picnic area of Starved Rock State Park. Shelters can be found between the lower parking lot, heading west to the boat ramp area. Shelters at Starved Rock do not have electricity or water. Grills and picnic tables are located at most shelters from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  Shelters are non-reservable and are only available on a first-come-first-served basis. Shelter sizes and locations are listed below.

  • R-15: Large Civilian Conservation Corps (wooden) shelter by the Visitor Center and sea wall along the Illinois River. 32 feet by 60 feet

  • R-17, 19, & 23: 3 shelters located in the picnic area between the lower parking lot and boat ramp. 20 feet by 28 feet

  • Large shelter by boat ramp area: 30 feet by 50 feet

  • R-35: Small shelter by boat ramp area. 15 feet by 25 feet

Activity Permits and Release of Liability Waivers (Required for all Groups of 20 or more People)

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources requires any group of 20 or more persons who use Department facilities trails, shelters, group hikes, and tour groups (schools, youth groups, families, travel or outdoor tours, etc.) to have advance written permission from the Site Superintendent or Site Manager. Activity Permits and Release of Liability Waivers must be submitted to at least 3 weeks prior to the visit for the site and state approval.  A $25 Activity Permit Fee is due the day of the activity at the Starved Rock Visitor Center in the form of a check to IDNR or cash.  

Filming permits must be requested at least 1 month in advance by emailing

Activity Permit

Release of Liability