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French Canyon Falls

French Canyon is one of the first of 18 canyons visitors will see while walking east from the Visitor Center. This canyon was named after the French explorers who first visited this area in the 1600s. French Canyon Trail is a 2.5-mile, fairly-busy walk that is rated as having a moderate degree of difficulty. There are a few steep inclines on the trail and a narrowing of the route in other areas.

The 45-foot walled French Canyon yields a waterfall after heavy rainfall and snowmelt. These canyons were formed from St. Peters Sandstone, which is easily erodible, but carving into the rock or scaling the rock walls is illegal.

The starting point of the trail to French Canyon is at the far end of the Starved Rock Visitor Center overflow lot. Following the tallest stairs in the park down to the visitors center, the trail splits two ways. Stay right where the stairs head up and follow the trail to the next fork. Continue to walk through the trees into French Canyon.

This trail is an out and back where hikers will have to walk up slippery rocks if the waterfall is flowing, which depends on the time of year you decide to visit. After the 0.4 miles hike, visitors will enjoy the canyon's fresh air, cool breeze, and beautiful waterfall.

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, Enjoy Illinois

A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about French Canyon Falls

During the winter, freezing and melting conditions create gorgeous icefalls throughout the canyon.

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  • French Canyon Falls
  • Oglesby
  • (815) 667-4726