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McHenry County Conservation District manages over 25,000 acres of diverse woodlands, wetlands and prairie. Explore outdoor recreational opportunities, programs and special events at 33 sites.
Freeman's offers canoe and kayak rental, bait & tackle, metal detectors, fly tying supplies, fishing & hunting licenses. Call to schedule a trip. Freeman's is your one-stop-shop for river recreation.
Take a kayaking class or a kayaking trip with an ACA certified instructor on the beautiful Fox River, Batavia. It's fun and informative. Check out some videos on what you will learn in the different classes. Several group and private kayaking classes - first time kayakers to intermediate. See the calendar for dates and times. So grab your friends and let’s go paddling!
Yak Shack makes paddling possible. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner looking for lessons or an expert looking to gear up, they've got what you need to get on the water! Self Guided trips are available for those interested in a calmer recreational paddle. Canoes, recreational kayaks and tube tracker inflatables can be rented for use within the course. Shop is located on the south bank of the Marge Cline Whitewater Course.
This forest preserve has miles of wooded trails and a quarry lake suitable for hiking and horseback. Fishing, canoeing and kayaking permitted in season.
Explore the heart of America! Follow the Mississippi River as it winds its way along Illinois' western border from Galena to Cairo. Experience over 550 miles of small towns, big cities, historic sites, recreational areas, cultural attractions and museums. Follow the green and white paddle wheel signs as they guide your next adventure!
Reed's Canoe offers three trips ranging in length from 2 to 6 hours, and are suitable for new and experienced canoeists.
Enjoy the natural wonders of the Pecatonica River (Stephenson County’s Water Trail) as it meanders through undisturbed Midwestern beauty. The Pecatonica River is the home of “Illinois’ Friendliest Paddle”. This landing offers ample parking, three picnic areas, primitive camping, portable toilet, 10' x 20' floating dock, firepits and charcoal grills, two ADA fishing piers, great bank fishing and canoe/kayak and boat launch. Open: Daily: 6 am to 10 pm.
The Vermilion River in Oglesby, Illinois, is a water paradise for fisherman and adventure seekers alike, with Class 3 out of 6 rapids. You’ll go from lazy streams to feeling like you’re on a roller coaster ride. This is certainly the most well known and likely the largest watershed in Illinois, and at 7.7 miles, the longest whitewater stretch in the state.
Enjoy the natural wonders of the Pecatonica River, Stephenson County's water trail, as is meanders nearly 60 miles through undisturbed Midwestern beauty. Access the river at McNeil's Damascus Landing which offers ample parking, a picnic area, fire pit and charcoal grills, portable toilet, 10' x 20' floating dock and canoe/kayak and concrete boat launch with access docking. Camping at the site is available for canoe, kayaks and boaters. Reservations required.
Bicentennial Riverfront Park is a five-acre community park on the south bank of the Fox River. Bicentennial Riverfront Park makes optimum use of the river, with abundant fishing, plus canoe and kayak access to the white water chute. There is also a beautiful view of the Glenn Palmer Dam as you follow the trail along the river and the picnic area, playground and river-side pavilion are popular community gathering spots in the summertime.
Guests have the opportunity to rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats to explore the rivers and lakes at Kickapoo State Park. Canoe and kayak trips (8 or 13 mile) are offered or rentals can be done by the hour. Following your adventure, guests can grab a bite to eat at the on-site Dockside Cafe which offers live music throughout the summer.
The Marge Cline Whitewater course is located in Yorkville at Bicentennial Riverfront Park on the Fox River, just 60 miles southwest of Chicago. The paddling community is all a dither about this course. Whether you’re a novice or an avid canoeist or kayaker, you’re sure to have a great experience.
Rocktown Adventures is a specialty outdoor retailer and adventure club. They offer sales, rentals, lessons, guided trips and related apparel for kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. They also carry camping equipment, lifestyle apparel and transportation equipment. Rocktown's mission is to help you gear up and head out. They carry top equipment sold by knowledgeable staff. Their experienced instructors love to share their passion for the outdoors. The trip guides know the waterways and trails like the back of their hand. The shop is conveniently located near an abundance of recreational assets waiting to be discovered by you!
They offer new and used boats, seasonal slip rental, boat lauch, boat dock and lift sales, rental pontoon boats, rental fishing boats, full line of boating accessories, full convenience store, package beer, liquor and wine.
Shabbona Lake State Park has 1,550 acres of rolling prairie and features a 318 acre man-made fishing lake. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area provides a convenient, natural haven from the hustle and bustle of daily life. With facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and winter sports, Shabbona Lake is a convenient and comfortable retreat where you can refresh and reinvigorate yourself in a rare, unspoiled environment.
White Crane Canoe and Pirogue Rentals offers guided services and watercraft rentals for use on the Cache River. Spend an afternoon gazing upon the mysteries of the swamp including 500 to 1,200 year old cypress & tupelo trees and get lost in another time as you paddle through Illinois’s hidden bayou. Set out in cypress pirogues or canoes and spend time about learning about the river’s history, geology and ecology. Guides will emphasize and share knowledge of local plants and animals and how they were utilized from local Native Americans past and present. Canoe instruction, life jackets and paddles included in the price.
Lake Lou Yaeger, this 1400+ acre lake offers 45 miles of beautiful shoreline and several recreational opportunities. Visitors can enjoy boating, skiing, swimming, fishing, and camping. The 300 acre park has five picnic areas, two playgrounds, pavilions, grills, restrooms, and hiking trails. With miles of horse trails and a new equestrian campground with full hook-ups and shower house, Lake Lou is a great destination for horse enthusiasts. Milnot Beach has two diving platforms, showers, snack bar, and lifeguards on duty.
Lake Katherine Trail is a 3.2-mile trail of moderate difficulty, located near Palos Heights, Illinois. This 1.5-hour hike over wood chip, dirt and gravel roads is one of the best urban nature walk trails in the area. The Preserve features an attractive lake, an arboretum, a waterfall garden, an herb and conifer garden and expansive views from atop a ridge in the eastern section.
The Illinois River slices a 273-mile long path through the state—its waters lapping along the shores of many cities, including; La Salle, Peru, Peoria and Ottawa to name just a few. It’s in Ottawa where the Illinois River meets Buffalo Rock. Buffalo Rock sits like a sandstone island above the surrounding land and the Illinois River, and offers sweeping views of this famed waterway. On your journey down the river, your eyes will never tire from all the wildlife that call the river home. From Black-crowed heron, river otters, Western ribbon snakes even bald eagles. In some spots you’ll traverse tight canyons with tall rock formations on either side, and in other areas you’ll share the river with barges and commercial boats. Whether you’re kayaking or canoeing, you’ll experience the shear power of the winding river that was carved by glacial melt water in all its seasonal colors, with its various incarnations of forests, wetlands, bluffs and prairies to enjoy.
The Galena River, also known as Fever River, meanders through the lush scenery of Northern Illinois before winding through Galena’s historic downtown. Put-in near Galena's Main Street which will offer you plenty of opportunities to explore the river on your own, or to take day excursions offered by a local outfitter.
Homer Lake Forest Preserve contains 892 acres for fishing, boating, hiking picnicking, cross-country skiing and sledding. Also available is an exciting Homer Lake Interpretive Center, which hosts thousands every year through programs like "Homer Lake Take Me Fishing" and the unique Natural Playscape.
Chicago River Canoe and Kayak has everything you need to enjoy the Chicago River; whether you’re in the mood for a quick hour excursion or an afternoon getaway. Guided trips are available for all ability levels, including weekly trips through downtown Chicago, a sunset dinner trip at the Lagoons or a quieter trip down nearby streams.
This 810 acre lake with a maximum depth of 90 feet and a 24-mile shoreline is part of the Crab Orchard Refuge. It is stocked with rainbow and brown trout and provides largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, channel catfish, bullheads, and carp. Boat ramps are available. Boats have a 10-horsepower limit. Camping is available.