Paddle Northeastern Illinois

An interactive guide to the Northeastern Illinois water trails system, which encompasses 10 waterways, ranging from creeks that flow through densely wooded forest preserves to the skyscrapers of downtown Chicago as seen from Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

  • Skill Level

  • Trip Length

  • Waterway

Explore Waterway Systems

A vibrant river with multiple paddlers enjoying the trail and nature alongside it.

Calumet Area Water Trails

Water Trails in Calumet comprise a number of connected natural and man-made waterways, including both rivers and lakes.

A group of people paddling in a canoe on a serene river surrounded by lush greenery.

Chicago River Water Trails

The Chicago River is a long, diverse waterway that begins in Lake County.

Des Plaines River Water Trails

The Des Plaines River begins in Racine County, Wisconsin and flows south through Illinois for about 95 miles.

Upcoming Events

Tips & Resources

Find safety and rental information, paddling clubs and organizations, and other waterway trails around Illinois.

For Government Organizations

Most water trail access sites in northeastern Illinois are on publicly owned property held by recreation providers.

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