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Set in the forested terrain of northwestern Illinois, Matthiessen State Park is a fascinating display of unique rock formations, canyons, streams, and untamed beauty. Formerly the property of its namesake, Frederick William Matthiessen, the land once served as a private park under his diligent care. At that time, the park was 176 acres and was mostly made up of a single canyon. This is quite a contrast to the 1,983 acres of land that Utica campers can hike, mountain bike, stroll along, and picnic in today.
Although there's no lack of things to do at Matthiessen State Park, LaSalle County is also filled with exciting new places to explore. Just a few miles away from Utica is the striking town of Oglesby, where Matthiessen State Park RV campers can find Starved Rock State Park, an enticing place to park the rental RV for the night. Other cities within a ten-mile radius include the up-and-coming city of LaSalle and scenic Peru, both of which offer numerous sights and activities for you to enjoy. Book an RV in LaSalle County today to experience all that beautiful Illinois has to offer!
You’ll love camping near Matthiessen State Park at all times of the year, as this year-round park has activities come snow or shine. During the warm summer months, bring the family over for a picnicking adventure within a dazzling setting. Specifically catering to picnickers, the park offers picnic tables, restrooms, water fountains, grills, and a colorful playground for the kids to enjoy. Come enjoy some smoked food with friends and family, and then hit the trails for some lazy Sunday strolling.
With over five miles of hiking trails in excellent condition, walk or run inside the main canyon for an awe-inspiring journey through the park. View exposed sandstone and a myriad of colors across the rocks in natural waves that no artist could fully replicate. Formed by water erosion, the canyon holds a unique mineral in its flowing streams that have splashed color amongst the dells for years gone past.
If you just can’t get enough of mountain biking, then check out the nine miles of trails specifically designated for bikers or horseback riders. Zip through all nine for a vigorous morning exercise, or take your time to stop and smell the blossoming northern honeysuckle and orange columbine. Flora and fauna abound all around you, from exploding shooting star plants and purple mint plants to black huckleberry and spiked tick-trefoils. Bike through a lush forest of black oak, red cedar, and white oak, and delight in the chirping melodies of chickadees, cedar waxwings, and yellow-bellied sapsuckers.
Camping at Matthiessen State Park is reserved for horseback riders and their horses only. However, you don’t have to go much further than the popular Starved Rock State Park Campground for a luxurious motorhome camping experience. Offering over 120 pet-friendly campsites, each with a cement pad for your camper rental, picnic table, nearby access to shower houses with flush toilets, fire pit, and electrical hookups, Starved Rock State Park makes for an ideal place to camp in an RV near Matthiessen State Park.
The kids will love playing on the playground, which falls within walking distance from your site, and a nearby shelter provides shade and comfort to those looking for a cozy place to picnic. Campers can choose from a variety of fully shaded, partially shaded, sunny, or accessible sites based on personal preferences. As each site accommodates up to two vehicles per site, you’ll love being able to stretch your legs outside of your rental campervan.
If you find yourself camping near Matthiessen State Park, then you probably already know that the stunning Starved Rock State Park nearby is voted one of the top attractions in Illinois. This gem of a park holds countless activities that are only limited by your imagination. Holding 18 canyons just begging to be explored and over 12 miles of trails to adventure through, you simply cannot visit LaSalle County without a trip to this local hot spot.
Another local attraction is the Hegeler Carus Mansion in LaSalle. This 19th-century mansion not only offers public tours, but also holds public events such as murder mysteries. Dress up in period clothing for an interactive murder mystery that starts with dinner at Starved Rock Lodge’s Dining Room and takes you along a trolley ride to the old-fashioned mansion for a thrilling night of hair-raising intrigue.
Neighboring Starved Rock State Park, in Utica, is the LaSalle County Historical Society and Museum. Just a few miles away from Matthiessen State Park, the museum offers in-depth exhibits such as the Heritage Center, Canal Market, blacksmiths shop, and one-room schoolhouse. Come browse fascinating artifacts and interactive displays that trace local and national history all the way back to the 1800s.
And when you’re finished, fill up on gas, groceries, or dinner, as there are plenty of options in town for all three! Hot comfort food is available at a local café, or savor New Orleans-style grill at a local restaurant. Fast-food options are sprinkled throughout town, and American grill is also available for the famished traveler. Whatever hits the spot for you, take a trip to Matthiessen State Park for a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation.