Water Trails of Northeastern Illinois

Family & Beginner Trips
By Gary Mechanic
  |  Gorp.com

The Skokie Lagoons [Map] consist of seven man-made lagoons connected by channels that provide an excellent place to paddle with children and to learn and practice canoeing and kayaking. Access is at the Tower Road Boat Ramp, just south of Tower Road on the east side of the Edens Expressway (Interstate 94).
The entire system of lagoons and channels provide scenic, natural and wildlife viewing areas. Quieter areas are on the east side of the islands away from the expressway. Deer, beaver, muskrats, waterfowl and other birds are commonly seen throughout the lagoons. The lakes are stocked with several species of game fish. Picnic areas surround the lagoons. The North Shore Bike Path passes through the area on the east side.

Busse Lake [Map] is another manmade body of water created by a dam on Salt Creek in the Ned Brown Forest Preserve. Row boats and canoes are available for rent at the concession at the Busse Lake Boating Center. Enter on the south side of Higgins Road (Rt. 72) approximately 1/2 mile east of Rt. 53.

The West Branch of the DuPage River [Map] provides a safe and easy river trip for families and beginners. Two sections are recommended here for those who own or have access to a canoe or kayak. The first section is between Riverside Park in Winfield (on Beecher Avenue) and the Blackwell Forest Preserve Canoe Launch on the south side of Mack Road, just east of Rt. 59. It is a shallow and quiet prairie stream flowing much of the way through West DuPage Woods and Blackwell Forest Preserves. This section is approximately 4.25 miles long. Another 2.25 mile section continues from the Blackwell Forest Preserve Canoe Launch on Mack Road, to the park at the Warrenville Dam in Warrenville. These shallow sections are easier to paddle during periods of higher water levels.

A number of Lake County Forest Preserve District canoe launch sites provide access to the upper Des Plaines River [Map]. One 5.75 mile section starts at the Russell Road Canoe Launch on the east side of the river, on the south side of Russell Road. This section of the river runs entirely through Lake County Forest Preserves. The trip ends at the Wadsworth Road Canoe Launch on the east side of the river, on the south side of Wadsworth Road in Wadsworth.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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