Directions: Enter the Trailside Nature Center parking lot on the south side of Chicago Avenue between Thatcher Avenue and the Des Plaines River in River Forest. Follow the path at the west end of the parking lot to the put-in.
As an alternative, use the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Maywood Grove Launch, which is on the west side of the Des Plaines River, just north of the Lake Street Bridge (pictured above). This access site is approximately 300 feet south of the Maywood Grove parking lot, which is located at Ohio Street and Des Plaines Avenue. You should park in the Maywood Grove Lot, but you can park temporarily along Des Plaines Ave, north of Lake St. as you unload your canoes/kayaks.
The take-out is on the Des Plaines River on river right, just past the confluence of Salt Creek. Enter the Plank Road Meadow Boat Launch on the north side of Ogden Avenue just east of First Avenue in Lyons.
Notes: The river in the middle section of this trip passes through several cemeteries. Look for the beautiful crypts and sculpture overlooking the river in the Forest Home Cemetery on river left immediately downstream of the Eisenhower Expressway. Downstream of Plank Road Meadow is the site where the former Hofmann Dam once stood. Paddlers beware that rubble at the former dam site creates difficult conditions for paddling. Take out at Plank Road Meadow before you reach the site of the former dam.