Hiking Interior Canyon Trail



5.1 miles

Route Type


Added by Alex Harrison

Waterfalls, sandstone canyons, and Matthiessen LakeBeautiful all year round

Outside the town of Ottawa, Illinois you will find Matthiessen State Park, a geological wonder of the area. The park provides spectacular views of waterfalls, sandstone canyons, and Matthiessen Lake. Whichever season you go to the state park, you will be greeted with different experiences. The Fall presents a time to catch the beautiful colors while the Winter freezes the waterfalls and makes for amazing photos. The summer and spring time are also great times to go, with the flowers coming out and the trees in full bloom.

Starting at The Dells Area parking lot consists of give or take about 500 steps of stairs (I haven't counted, but it is a lot of steps). You will be greeted at the bottom of these steps by two trails: the Bluff Trail which is roughly 5 miles long while the other trail, Interior Canyon Trail, is roughly 1 mile long. The Interior Canyon Trail and The Bluff Trail both lead to Matthiessen Lake as well as Cascade Falls and Lake Falls. The Bluff Trail is good for novice hikers, while The Interior Canyon Trail can be a bit trickier, especially during the spring and summer when the river can tend to flood. The Bluff Trail will also lead to the other part of the park, Vermillion River Area, where you can get down near the river area and enjoy a scenic walk in the less explored part of the park.

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Known for

Mountain Biking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole



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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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