Water Trails in Calumet comprise a number of connected natural and man-made waterways, including both rivers and lakes. Thorn Creek and the Upper Little Calumet River are shallow streams with wooded banks, perfect for beginners. The Cal-Sag Channel, Lower Little Calumet, and Calumet Rivers are deep, engineered channels with barge and powerboat traffic, appropriate for experts.
The Chicago River is a long, diverse waterway that begins in Lake County. It includes the Skokie River, Skokie Lagoons, the North Branch, the Main Branch in the downtown area of the city, the South Branch, and the Sanitary and Ship Canal
The Des Plaines River begins in Racine County, Wisconsin and flows south through Illinois for about 95 miles. Along the water trail, it changes its character (and legal classification) from a prairie stream to a large urban river, and then to a major industrial waterway.
Paddling on Lake Michigan is recommended only for paddlers with proper boats (sea kayak), equipment, and skills appropriate to the water and weather conditions. Paddling with a group or experienced partner is strongly recommended.
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).