Explore Your Lakes and Rivers

Explore Your Lakes and Rivers is designed to acquaint local residents with the water trails surrounding them in the Chicago and Calumet areas. Whether for river cleanups, educational opportunities, or just for fun, these paddling events have brought families out on the water across the area.

Openlands facilitates paddling events and workshops around the region at local parks, along the region’s water trails, or in county forest preserves. These workshops are open to the public, free of charge, and are often coupled with volunteer and stewardship opportunities such as a park cleanup or river cleanup. With the assistance of several partners, canoes and kayaks are provided and first-time paddlers are encouraged to join us!


Explore the Lake Michigan Water Trail this Summer!

Explore the Lake Michigan Water Trail this summer at one or more of the following events! Enjoy the trail by paddling on Lake Michigan in large, guided, beginner-appropriate voyageur canoes, and learn about opportunities for recreation, education, and stewardship along Illinois’ northern Lake Michigan coast!  All events include beginner-friendly paddling experiences and other family friendly activities.  People of all ages, skill levels, and abilities are welcome – bring your family and connect to Lake Michigan!

Download the Flyer (pdf) 

More information…

Explorar el Lake Michigan Water Trail

¡Explora el sendero acuático del lago Michigan en uno o más de estos eventos! ¡Disfrute remando en el lago Michigan en canoas de viajeros grandes, guiadas, apropiadas para principiantes y aprenda sobre oportunidades de recreación, educación y administración a lo largo de la costa norte del lago Michigan en Illinois! Todos los eventos incluyen experiencias para niños principiantes y otras actividades para la familia. ¡Personas de todas las edades, niveles de experiencia y habilidades pueden participar! ¡Trae a tu familia y conéctate al lago Michigan!

Descargar en español (pdf)

Más información


Upcoming Events and Workshops

Openlands has a series of workshops and paddling events set for summer 2018! Mark your calendars with the dates below and be sure to email paddle@openlands.org so we can keep you up-to-date as we finalize plans for these trips.

We will be posting the final schedule for each of these events and some additional workshops for the rest of spring and summer 2018 soon. You can sign up to receive Openlands’ newsletter for information on upcoming paddling events.


Paddle Illinois Water Trails

Our region is home to numerous lakes and rivers just waiting to be explored. From Lake County to Northwest Indiana, discover one of several trails throughout the area! Openlands’ new paddling website, Paddle Illinois Water Trails, is a comprehensive guide for canoeing and kayaking in the Chicago region. Covering over 500 miles of water trails across 10 of northeastern Illinois’ waterways, this new guide provides rich information about paddling, including step-by-step trips along each trail. The site contains trips and resources for everyone, from first-time paddlers to seasoned boaters.


Paddling events are all open to the public and we encourage you to join us at the next event, even if you are a first-time paddler! For more information on Explore Your Lakes and Rivers, please contact paddle@openlands.org.