I almost hate to post this. I love that most people think of Starved Rock State Park and not Matthiessen when deciding which park in the Illinois Valley to visit. When visiting nature, I like to not be surrounded by hundreds of people. My own three children provide enough noise as it is. One particular place that holds a special place in my heart is the bridge at the entrance by the Deer Park Golf Course. My brother and his wife got married there back in October of 2001. It is also about 5 minutes from our house. This is our entrance of choice. I like starting on the bridge and either just walking a little ways up the paved path and back again if we want a short walk or being able to hike all the way to the lower dells area from there. If you visit after some rain, the waterfalls are quite amazing. I love going down into the lower dells and feeling like I’m far away. Sometimes it is hard to believe that this amazing place is just a few minutes from my house. Anyone visiting the Illinois Valley should visit Matthiessen State Park, but if you would rather visit Starved Rock, that would be okay with me. After all, I am hoping that Matthiessen continues to stay overshadowed by it’s more popular neighbor.