One of my favorite summer past times is taking a nice, scenic hike through the woods. We're lucky enough to have some beautiful state parks within close proximity to the QC, and one of them is Starved Rock, located in Utica, IL. The park is a little over an hour away, but definitely worth the trip. Starved Rock boasts waterfalls, sandstone canyons, and miles of trails where you can observe wildlife. Oh, and it's supposedly haunted.

Legend has it that the park's name has a pretty dark origin story- according to Mysterious Heartland, the Ottawa and Potawatomi Indians captured a group of Illiniwek and starved them into submission to avenge the death of the Ottawa's leader, Pontiac.

Adding to the creepy vibe of the park is the fact that three female friends were murdered in St. Louis Canyon at Starved Rock in 1960. Mysterious Heartland claims that hikers have heard disembodied voices coming from the rock formations, and Haunted Places alleges that the Starved Rock Lodge (which happens to be where the murder victims were staying at the time of their deaths) is also haunted. Supposedly, guests have reported seeing a black apparition, experienced cold spots, and have witnessed doors opening and closing on their own.

Who's to say if Starved Rock really is haunted or not. It's such a beautiful park that I think it's easy enough to look past the dark history, but I know that I would have some reservations about hiking there as opposed to another, less haunted place.

Check out some Facebook pictures of Starved Rock below, and more info about the park's hauntings here and here.