Directions: Distillery Road Launch Site is located approximately 2.5 miles south of US 20-BUS on Distillery Road in Belvidere and is managed by the Boone County Conservation District. From I-90, take the Genoa Road exit toward Belvidere. Continue onto US-20 BUS and drive for approximately 7 miles. Take a left on Distillery Road and drive south for 1.5 miles. Parking is available at the launch site.
Take-out at Espenscheid Forest Preserve is located at 4800 South Perryville Road in Cherry Valley, just three miles southeast of Rockford. This launch site is managed by Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. The take-out is well developed with parking a few hundred feet away. Railroad ties are used as steps down to the river’s edge, and its banks are bermed by stacks of railroad ties. When the river is high, the railroad ties are covered in silt, which can make them slippery.
Notes: This trip is recommended for beginner paddlers and is known for its quiet beauty, abundant wildlife, and long stretches of undeveloped wilderness. Noted wildlife includes Great-blue herons, American goldfinch, turtles, and mollusks. Water conditions are normally calm, but can turn turbulent after heavy rain or in high winds.