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Aurora Canyon walls fill the sides of the image with layered sandstone. The waterfall trickles down under trees on the central canyon wall.

Aurora gets fewer visitors, because access is from the Lodge area, and as such, this makes for a good experience for people wanting a more solitary experience.

Length from the Lodge: .2 Mile

Difficulty: Trail access is found behind the lodge off of the veranda heading west.  Follow the brown signs and maps to Aurora Canyon/St. Louis Canyon.  You will cross a wooden foot bridge then follow the staircase down to the canyon.  There are very few stairs in this area, and they are carved into the sandstone.  There is a major staircase connecting the interior canyon with the overlook on the bluff trail.

Access is also available from the main parking lot. Walk to the west end of the lot and follow a path through the grassy field that curves through ~50′ of woods to the incoming park road. Watch carefully at the crosswalk and you will enter lower Aurora. If you want to take the walk further, exit the canyon and take the steps up to the Bluff Trail above.

Parking: Starved Rock Lodge/Visitor Center 

Waterfall: Two tier waterfall.  Lower tier is 10′ tall

Top View: Yes

Interior Canyon View: Yes

Flora and Fauna: The  month of May brings an abundance of ferns, lichens, moss, and bishops cap (miterwort) flowers to the walls of Aurora Canyon.  White tailed deer are sometimes seen grazing on young tree saplings and the occasional groundhog peeking out from his hole under one of the park’s warehouses located just north of the canyon. 

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Published by Ana Segota

Co-founder and designer at Anariel Design.

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