Matthiessen State Park

Matthiessen State Park is located near Utica and Oglesby, Illinois close to Starved Rock State Park.

Frederick Williams Matthiessen developed the park for his personal use and after his death it was donated to the state of Illinois. I bet he would be happy to know that not only do many people enjoy his park, additional land has also been added to it to make the park larger.

There are two main areas that make up Matthiessen State Park:

  • Dells Area
  • Vermillion River Area


I stopped at Matthiessen State Park on my way out west in August 2017 to do my four National Park trip. As it was my first stop of the road-trip I chose to only check out the Upper Dell in the Dells Area. I had seen the section called Giant’s Bathtub in pictures and was intrigued. It did not disappoint.

giant’s bathtub


I ended up hiking a little under a mile. I forgot that unlike Indiana, the Illinois kids had yet to start school. The park was packed and noisy. I will plan better next time so it will be a more peaceful adventure when I explore the rest of the park.