Russell Road to Wadsworth Road


Russell Road to Wadsworth Road

Skill Level

Beginner To Intermediate

Trail Length

5.9 miles

Waterway Trail

Directions: A number of Lake County Forest Preserve District canoe launches provide access to the upper Des Plaines River. This section starts at the Russell Road Canoe Launch, one mile east of I-94, on the south side of Russell Road, near the Illinois/Wisconsin border. The trip ends at the Wadsworth Road Canoe Launch, approximately 0.4 miles east of Route 41, on the south side of Wadsworth Road. 

Notes: This relatively wild and scenic trip runs entirely through forest preserves in Lake County. Beware of obstacles such as beaver dams and log jams, which you should portage around.

Always check United States Geological Survey (USGS) water data before your trip.

1 thought on “Russell Road to Wadsworth Road”

  1. Very peaceful paddle just south of the Wisconsin border through the open grasslands of Van Patten woods and other forest preserves. Paddle in June of 2023 with very low water conditions – gauge height was 2.47 feet and median is closer to 2.8 – but still I only got hung up one or two times on shallow stretches. The algae was pretty heavy in places which was unpleasant but not impassable. Both the put-in at Russel road and the take out at Wadsworth road were very easy to access, well maintained, close to the river, and plenty of parking. The big bonus of the des plaines waterway is the des plaines trail which runs alongside the river the whole way, making this a perfect river for bike-and-paddle adventures. The only downside of this paddle for me is that it is pretty much entirely in open fields, so there is not shade or forest. But the grass areas make for incredible bird life. Highly recommend this paddle, it is very accesible and very beginner friendly.

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