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Dean Nature Sanctuary to Plank Road Meadow - Paddle Illinois Water Trails

Beginner to Intermediate depending on water levels & deadfall

  • Skill Level:9.25 miles
  • Trail Length:
  • Waterway Trail:Salt Creek Water Trails
Intermediate, Long Trips, Salt Creek Water Trails

Dean Nature Sanctuary to Plank Road Meadow

Directions: Turn east from York Road onto Canterbury Lane and follow the quiet road for approximately 1/3 of a mile to the Dean Nature Sanctuary on the south side of the street. Be advised that Canterbury Lane is a high traffic route for bicyclists.

The Plank Road Meadow Boat Ramp take-out is on river right (on the Des Plaines River) approximately 200 feet south of the river’s confluence with Salt Creek.

Approximately 0.4 mile downstream of the 31st Street Bridge is the Possum Hollow Dam.  This low dam is visible only in low water conditions. Paddle through the canoe chute on the river right side of the dam.

An alternate put-in is at the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s Bemis Woods launch site. This can be accessed from Wolf Road approximately 0.2 miles north of Ogden Avenue. The Bemis Woods parking entrance is on the north side of Ogden Avenue.  Follow the road to the western end of the parking lot near the creek and put in by the foot bridge.

An alternative take-out is at the Brookfield Village Hall Canoe Landing.  This small, minimally improved landing is about 1/3 mile downstream (south) of the Washington Street Bridge on river-left.  Parking is available in the lot behind the Village Hall.

Notes: This trip passes through Cook County Forest Preserves and through the west side of Brookfield Zoo. There is no access to the zoo from the water trail.

Please respect the privacy of riparian landowners—no landing on private property.

  • Directions: Turn east from York Road onto Canterbury Lane and follow the quiet road for approximately 1/3 of a mile to the Dean Nature Sanctuary on the south side of the street. Be advised that Canterbury Lane is a high traffic route for bicyclists.
  • The Plank Road Meadow Boat Ramp take-out is on river right (on the Des Plaines River) approximately 200 feet south of the river’s confluence with Salt Creek.
  • Approximately 0.4 mile downstream of the 31st Street Bridge is the Possum Hollow Dam. This low dam is visible only in low water conditions. Paddle through the canoe chute on the river right side of the dam.
  • An alternate put-in is at the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s Bemis Woods launch site. This can be accessed from Wolf Road approximately 0.2 miles north of Ogden Avenue. The Bemis Woods parking entrance is on the north side of Ogden Avenue. Follow the road to the western end of the parking lot near the creek and put in by the foot bridge.
  • An alternative take-out is at the Brookfield Village Hall Canoe Landing. This small, minimally improved landing is about 1/3 mile downstream (south) of the Washington Street Bridge on river-left. Parking is available in the lot behind the Village Hall.
  • Notes: This trip passes through Cook County Forest Preserves and through the west side of Brookfield Zoo. There is no access to the zoo from the water trail.
  • Please respect the privacy of riparian landowners—no landing on private property.

4 Comments

Bob S.
May 29, 2022

Ongoing repair of the Brookfield Avenue bridge may make passage/portage of Salt Creek difficult to impossible past the Brookfield launch. Construction was supposed to be completed early summer 2022, however, as of May 29th, it looks like there is much work still to be done.

Openlands
June 9, 2022

Many thanks for this helpful information!

Susannah Ball
August 16, 2022

Paddled this trail in late July of 2022. Can confirm the above post, bridge work at Brookfield Avenue is still blocking the lower stretch. However, the Brookfield Village Hall launch has been greatly improved and is a wonderful access point. Shows on google maps as “Kendra’s Memorial Tree”. Nice ramp to the river and parking right at the launch. Taking out before the bridge makes the trip about 8.5 miles vs. the 9 miles mentioned in the guide. Took me about 3 hrs 45 minutes at a leisurely pace. Really fun paddle with lots of twists and turns in the river. Beware the Possum Hollow Dam. I have added it as a location in Google Maps, hopefully this can help some unsuspecting paddlers! There is a canoe chute river right. Heavily wooded trail and passes through a lot of forest preserves. Salt Creek trail runs alongside for most of the journey. I left my bike at the take out point and biked back to my vehicle at Dean. Made for a fantastic day. Huge thanks to everyone who put these guides together, they are an amazing resource!!

Openlands
August 17, 2022

Thanks for the updates and the reminder to be aware of dams. So glad you had a good adventure!

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