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Clark Park to Ping Tom Memorial Park - Paddle Illinois Water Trails

Clark Park to Ping Tom Memorial Park

  • Skill Level:Expert
  • Trail Length:8 Miles
  • Waterway Trail:Chicago River Water Trails
Chicago River Water Trails, Expert, Long Trips

Clark Park to Ping Tom Memorial Park

Directions: Clark Park is located on the west side of Rockwell Street (2600 W), half a block south of Addison Street (3600 N) in Chicago. There is a small parking lot at the south end of the playing field. Follow the path from the parking lot to the river and canoe launch.

Notes: Chicago River Canoe and Kayak rents canoes and kayaks at Clark Park. Clark Park is also home to one of four city of Chicago boathouses designed to help revitalize Chicago’s riverfront.

Just past the Ashland Avenue bridge, on both sides of the Webster Street Bridge, is the Webster Street Aeration Station. Use caution when approaching and passing through the Aeration Station. Do not paddle in the aerated water. Aerated water can affect the buoyancy of both boats and people passing through it (for example boats can float lower in the water).

Just past the North Avenue Bridge, the river broadens into the North Avenue Turning Basin. Turn left (east) and enter the North Branch Canal (the channel on the east side of Goose Island). The Canal turns south. At the confluence of the North Branch, South Branch and Main Stem, follow the South Branch through the downtown area.

Just south of the 18th Street Bridge is the take out at Ping Tom Memorial Park, located at 300 W. 19th Street in Chicago’s Chinatown. The 12-acre Ping Tom Memorial Park offers many amenities including a playground and community gathering areas. A boat ramp once available at the park has been removed as of 2022, but access is permissible at a staircase leading into the river near the north end of the park.

If you’re looking for a shorter trip along this section of the river, Kayak Chicago allows paddlers to launch and take out from their dock for a small fee. Kayak Chicago is located at 1501 N. Magnolia with a dock on the North Avenue Turning Basin.


July 29, 2021

Hi thanks so much for a great web resource!
How long would the 8 miles take for an intermediate kayaker?

September 1, 2021

Hi Jennifer, Paddling from Clark Park to Ping Tom might take 3-4 hours. Happy paddling!

October 8, 2021

Where can you park at Ping Tom Memorial Park if you are taking kayaks out there?

June 9, 2022

Hi Rod, There is no dedicated parking for the park, but metered parking is available along Wentworth. For taking out at the site, the entrance coming into the park at the junction of West 19th Street and South Wells Street is the best location for temporary loading/unloading.

Monica C Salud
August 15, 2022

The launch in front of the REI boathouse was closed when we arrived on a Monday afternoon. If there was a ramp attached at some point, it’s no longer there.

August 17, 2022

Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

November 6, 2022

Visited REI, the launch was fully open..I appreciated that boats with small motors were allowed to use it.

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