LaSalle Canyon Falls in mid-April 2012
I’ve always been a pretty spontaneous person when it comes to travel. I may decide to go somewhere to see waterfalls without any significant amount of planning. For certain waterfall destinations, though, that can be problematic. Hocking Hill State Park in Ohio is one example, and Starved Rock State Park in Illinois is another. The issue is that there is often only a limited “viewing” period for the falls in those parks before they dry up for the summer. I haven’t visited Hocking Hills yet, but earlier this year, I decided to plan a visit to Starved Rock State Park in April, when I hoped there would be some remnants of waterfalls.
And I was partially lucky. While there were a few falls that had almost ceased to exist until the next intense rainfall or snow melt, a few others still hung around to make the trip worthwhile. LaSalle Canyon Falls might be one of the main highlights from my visit to Starved Rock State Park. Even at the falls, there wasn’t a massive amount of water flowing, but still some. And sometimes you just have to accept “some”! This particular falls is really a pleasure to photograph. You can walk very close to the falls to get one perspective, and then hide behind the surrounding cliffs to get another viewpoint. I believe the shot shown here was at the closer viewpoint.
- Starved Rock State Park is not particularly difficult to visit. The park is only a few miles south of I-80 between Ottawa and LaSalle.
- You can exit onto IL-178 (from I-80), and head south for something like 3 miles.
- The entrance to the park will be on your left shortly after crossing the Illinois River.
- From the main parking area, you can start along the hike to the various falls. In this case, you will be hiking to your east. (There are other starting points along IL-71, but I did not explore those other options.)
- Initially, the options can seem overwhelming. If you just want to head toward this set of falls, veer left early, trekking with the river usually in view. It is at least a mile in, if not further.
- In this case, a map does help with navigating the trails. If I remember correctly, there will be a sign directing you to LaSalle Canyon. (If you were originally heading east, this will be to your right.) A boardwalk will lead you to the falls.
Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Length of Hike: 4.0 miles round-trip (from visitor’s center)
Where in the World is LaSalle Canyon Falls?
I really stumbled upon Buttermilk Falls. I don’t remember whether it was in the book I was using, but I do think I noticed it on the GPS. Often, when you see waterfalls on the GPS, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can or should visit them, so I had to wonder…Is this waterfall on private property? Is this waterfall in the middle of nowhere?
Well, I was lucky. The falls might be on private property, but you can visit them. And they are extremely easy to visit! They are right of US-209 near East Stroudsburg. It was Memorial Day weekend in 2009, and just an hour or two earlier, an intense rain/thunder storm had passed through. That had prevented me from looking for the other waterfalls in the book, so I decided to drive north on US-209 to explore. Driving north, I found it relatively easily. It’s right near a real estate office. The falls are more extensive than appear in the picture, but it is difficult to photograph the whole falls in one shot.
1) From I-80, take the exit for US-209 and head north.
2) Only 2 or 3 miles north on US-209 (aka 7 Bridges Road), you’ll find Buttermilk Falls Road. Turn right onto Buttermilk Falls Road, and park in the real estate office to your left.
3) Head to the falls, which are pretty obvious.
Where in the World is Buttermilk Falls?: map
Buttermilk Falls in May 2009