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Busse Lake to Cricket Creek Forest Preserve - Paddle Illinois Water Trails

Intermediate to Expert, or Beginner with an experienced guide

  • Skill Level:9 miles
  • Trail Length:
  • Waterway Trail:Salt Creek Water Trails
Expert, Long Trips, Salt Creek Water Trails

Busse Lake to Cricket Creek Forest Preserve

Directions: Located on property managed by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, this trip begins below the dam that creates Busse Lake. Enter Ned Brown Forest Preserve from S. Arlington Heights Road. The entrance is on the west side of the road, just to the southwest of the intersection with Landmeier Road, and northeast of the intersection with Elk Grove Boulevard. Follow the entrance road to the fork and take the left fork. Park near the end of the road. This trip requires carrying your boat from the parking lot to the creek approximately 700 feet west.

Put in at Busse Woods upstream of Arlington Heights Road bridge, in the east side of the creek.

Take out at Cricket Creek Forest Preserve before going under the Fullerton Bridge, on river-left.

Notes: This trip will take you through backyards, under bridges, and through the Oak Meadows Golf Course. There is a dam that must be portaged within the golf course about three-quarters of a mile downstream of the Elizabeth Road Bridge. You may also encounter low pedestrian bridges within the golf course.

Use caution and portage around any obstacle you do not think you can pass under. Watch for down trees blocking passage.


June 1, 2021

Hopefully this will post on this page, but I went from Busse Woods to the Salt Creek Park Forest Preserve on 05/30/2021. The gauge in Elmhurst that day was reading about 5.4ft, and most of the trip between put-in and take-out was 1-3ft. Smooth sailing until about a half mile south of the 390 expressway, as there is a decent log jam that needs to be portaged around to the right. It wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t easy, as the corners are tight and the mud at that location wants to pull your shoes off. This can easily be seen on google maps, so I assume it has been there for quite awhile. Just something to look out for!

Zack Naith
June 21, 2021

Thank you for your excellent resource! A small correction: There is no longer a dam at Oak Meadows; it was removed several years ago. I have paddled through this area.

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