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Campanula Trail – Starved Rock

The Campanula trail is a moderately easy hike from the top of French Canyon to the top of Wildcat Canyon. It is a shorter route to Wildcat than the bluff trail, and it is also easier overall.  The trail is named after the Harebell flower (whose scientific name is Campanula rotundifolia,) which is a blue, bell shaped flower, and can be seen along the trail, and throughout the park.

Length from the Visitors Center: .5 mile to the start of the trail, another .5 to Wildcat Canyon.

Difficulty:  The trail is one of the easier ones in the park, but getting to it from the Visitor Center is difficult. To get to the Campanula Trail from the Visitor Center requires hiking up a moderately difficult staircase.  From the lodge parking lot, there are few stairs to reach the trail. The trail is mostly a boardwalk, with the first and last hundred feet or so on stone and mud / sand. The boardwalk portion can be slick during rain and winter conditions.

Parking: Visitor Center (further, more difficult hike,) or Lodge (shorter, easier,) or overflow parking (further, easier.) Take your pick!

Waterfall: No

Top View: No

Interior Canyon View: No

Wildlife: Gray squirrels, chipmunks, white tailed deer, wild turkey, raccoons, warblers, tanagers, and woodpeckers can be seen through the various seasons from the trail.  Spring ephemerals such as trillium, may apple, hepatica, blood root, trout lily, and bellwort sprinkle the woodland floor.  A canopy of fall leaves from red oak, white oak, shagbark hickory, maple, and ash surround the hiker in the months of October and November.  The solitude and serenity of winter lead the visitor on a exploration hike for signs of animal tracks in the snow or the glimpse of an owl or eagle.