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Matthiessen State Park, Utica

4.7
Must see · State Park · Nature / Park
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.
The 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.
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Matthiessen State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
489 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Only going to the park to see the sunflower garden, it was a sight to behold. Again, there is no admission but, a slight parking problem.  more »
  • We dropped by after spending most of our day at neighboring Starved Rock state park. We did not visit the canyons of the upper and lower dells at Matthiessen but headed directly for the sunflower...  more »
  • Wanted a fun place to hike with my kids (ages 6 thru 15) They had a blast. We didn't really know what to expect luckily I packed a watertight box and water shoes. Plan to get wet. Its natures...  more »
Google
  • I LOVE this place! I've been here many times over the past few years. It's beautiful in all seasons. The waterfalls are especially stunning in the spring after/as the snow melts. I adore Matthiessen and would have gotten married here had I not moved away. Genuinely one of my top three places in the whole state. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–
  • This place is simply amazing!! Very relaxing and quiet. Be aware that the trails might be little slippery after rain. Totally worth the trip from Chicago. Highly recommend. You won't be disappointed.
  • Just BEAUTIFUL, if you Love nature and trail walking this is the place for you. This is an all-day Adventure for the whole family, get you a walking stick and get to walking. Pack a picnic because after your hike you can head back up to the parking lot and they have a picnic area and restrooms where you can refresh, relax and eat. This is a great way to spend a Saturday or any day enjoying family, friends and natural!!! Pets are welcome. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE I can't stress this enough, whatever you carry in please carry "OUT" it's all of our responsibility to protect and keep your forest CLEAN and BEAUTIFUL for future generations πŸ˜‰πŸŒ²πŸœπŸŒΎπŸ¦‰πŸ¦‹πŸŸπŸ¦…πŸŒ³πŸ’πŸΏπŸ¦ŒπŸ¦ŠπŸπŸ¦‡πŸ¦”πŸ›πŸπŸŒΌ they live here we don't 😍
  • Great place for a quick family getaway. Lots of trails (and stairs) for hiking. Beautiful scenery with hidden waterfalls and caves to explore along the way. Quick tip for those not up to a lot of walking park at the frisbee golf course and your right next to the big waterfall under the bridge. FYI bathrooms are "rustic"
  • Beautiful waterfalls with plenty of places to climb. Wonderful scenery with lots and lots of water. If you want to have small amount of people, go through the week. The weekend got super busy.

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