8 Most Beautiful and Fascinating Waterfalls In Illinois (2022)
Waterfalls in Illinois have something special about them. Illinois is home to several forests, woodlands, and parks, all of them housing hundreds of waterfalls. While many waterfalls are true as what is preached, a lot of them are indeed a surprise. Even though you cannot compare the Illinois waterfalls to the world level, they still behold charm worth making efforts for. While most of the waterfalls in Illinois are within the Starved Rock State Park, a few other beauties are tucked inside Matthiessen State Park.
Illinois Waterfalls are seasonal; thus, they are best experienced in Spring and Monsoon. During summers, while some are reduced to a trickle, others completely dry out. For observing the Illinois waterfalls in their best glory, plan your trip around early springs. It is when snow is just melting, and the flow rate is high. Another best time is after heavy rain pour, though it may also increase slipperiness on the pathways. Depending upon your hiking experience, you can plan your waterfall trip in Illinois accordingly.
8 Most Beautiful and Fascinating Waterfalls In Illinois
Here is a list of some amazing waterfalls in Illinois. Have a look:
1. St. Louis Canyon Waterfall
A popular waterfall in Starved Rock State Park, the St. Louis Canyon Waterfall is a must-visit when in Illinois. It is a Spring fed waterfall that keeps it lushly flowing most of the time in the year. While the rest of the year, St. Louis Canyon is flowing, you can see icicles in winters. This 80 feet high waterfall flows dramatically down the stunning cave-like rock setting, falling into a deep canyon. However, more than dramatic, the St. Louis canyon fall is known for its picturesque setting and extravagance. You can hop on several well-maintained trails reaching the fall, even available with signposts.
2. Kaskaskia Waterfall
Though a small, Kaskaskia Waterfall is one of the most beautiful and fantastic waterfalls in Illinois. It is a great sight for peace lovers who want to spend some time in the tranquillity of nature. Kaskaskia is 20 feet high and is dependent on weather and waterfall. You can this beautifully flowing wonder from June going through and after the monsoon. Though reaching up to the Kaskaskia waterfall is slightly strenuous. Begin from the visitors center/ parking lot and trek towards the eastern edge of Starved Rock State Park. After crossing major staircases and lush woodland, you will eventually end up at this gorgeous waterfall.
3. Worth Waterfalls, Worth
If you are not up for a long and strenuous hike, you can approach the Worth Waterfall in Illinois. Worth fall is one of the richest waterfalls in the city, but unlike many, it is human-made. Within a short walk from your car, you can approach the vast grassland right Infront of the waterfall. Visitors often come here to capture the views along with family picnics. Around the waterfall, there are plenty of open areas, especially playgrounds for kids. Weekends here are mainly packed with tourists; thus, choose weekdays if you are looking for peace around. Consider visiting the mesmerizing Lake Katherine with a quick driving effort if you have some extra time in hand.
4. Tonti Canyon Falls
Tonti Canyon is a 60 feet high waterfall located within the Starved Rock State Park. It is located nearly 2.5 miles away from the Tonti Bridge and is easy to reach. One can use the bridge or the river trail alongside to complete the hike. Apart from its length and beauty, what makes Tonty unique is not one but two giant waterfalls. Observing the dual falls flowing down is mesmerizing after heavy rainfall or during the snow melting season. It is always advisable to put your water shoes on as the area nearby the fall is always flooded. If lucky enough, you may also get to see raccoons, white-tailed deer, squirrels, and several birds around.
5. Ferne Clyffe Waterfall, Goreville
Ferne Clyffe Waterfall is a truly fascinating fall in Southern Illinois. It is located in the Ferne Clyffe State Park and is at its best during Spring or heavy downpour. The fall drops down from 100 feet and is one of the tallest waterfalls in Illinois. Trails that lead to Ferne aren’t difficult, but crossing the two-mile loop under the harsh sun can prove strenuous. There isn’t a much-shaded area on the way; thus, consider carrying an umbrella and water to beat the heat. Reaching the end, you will not find the waterfall alone but several other added amenities as well. From picnic tables to shelters, BBQs, showers, and toilets, facilities here never come to an end. There are a few seasonally operational camping grounds as well.
6. Burden Falls
Burden Falls, another largest waterfall in Illinois, sits near the Ohio border-right within the Shawnee National Forest. With a series of drops and cascades, the total elevation here goes up to 100 feet with a single descent of 20 feet. Reaching till the Burden fall is little hard crossing rugged rock formations and dense hardwood forests, though worth all efforts. After winters or during/ after a heavy downpour, the views at Burden turn gorgeously divine. However, if you happen to be here during the peak of summer, you might not find even a single trace of the fall.
Apart from the waterfall, the wilderness in itself is totally impressive to explore. It is always a delight to explore this region, especially with no rails and bridges and completely untouched land.
7. Giant’s Bathtub Falls
Giant’s Bathtub Falls is not known for its high elevation but the bathtub-like pond. Located in the Matthiessen State Park, the Giant’s Bathtub falls is really compact but reaching here is worthy in all aspects. Hiking up until the fall is marked as moderately difficult, though it is an easy affair in the right season and with good shoes. Its volume may differ depending upon the seasons and weather, but the beauty and experience never disappoint. Visitors can dip or swim in the pond underneath, though avoid that when the fall is in full floods.
8. Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
The Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve has a small human-made waterfall that is unarguably gorgeous and impressive. The forest in itself is one of the most impressive ecological gifts to Illinois, let alone the waterfall. From waterfall lovers to pre-wedding shooters and wild photographers, locals from Lemont and Chicago choose it as their ultimate spot. Visitors can hike, bicycle, and even horse ride towards the fall. Though to protect the sensitive natural area, cyclists and horse riders should park in the designated areas only. Because the preserve is open from sunrise to one hour before sunset, consider planning your waterfall trip accordingly.
Tips For Exploring Waterfalls In Illinois
- Even if the trails are marked easy, always wear proper hiking shoes. As most of Illinois’s waterfalls are within the woodland, you may find several difficult paths to cross.
- Consider carrying water shoes and ice cleats along depending on the weather, especially in/ after winter and monsoon.
- Do carry drinking water along as there are barely any springs inside the parks.
- Dressing covering both your hand and legs fully and soak well in a good insect repellent before.
- Always carry a paper map of the trails. Due to less network coverage, mobile and other GPS devices may betray you.