The Northeastern Illinois water trails system encompasses 10 waterways. These water trails offer a variety of experiences, 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. The water trails of northeastern Illinois present paddling experiences found few other places in the world.
The DuPage River is a small-to-medium sized stream flowing north to south through DuPage and Will counties and ending at its confluence with the Des Plaines River in Channahon.
The Fox River presents a number of varied paddling experiences for different skill levels. As the river enters Kendall County below Montgomery, it becomes a large, quiet, and scenic river flowing mostly through farmland.
The Kankakee River was designated as a National Water Trail in June 2016 for its entire length, starting at its origin in Indiana, all the way to its confluence with the Des Plaines River in Illinois.
The Illinois section of the Lake Michigan Water Trail stretches 68 miles from the Indiana border, at Calumet Park on the south side of Chicago, to the Wisconsin border, north of Winthrop Harbor in Lake County.
The Nippersink Creek, a twenty-three-mile long creek with a 138 square mile watershed, is a major tributary of the Fox River and a safe stream for paddlers of all abilities
Salt Creek consists of four sections, each offering a distinct paddling experience. Paddling is also available at Busse Lake located at the northern end of the trail in Ned Brown Forest Preserve (Busse Woods).