Shallow water and a prohibition against powered boat use make this stretch ideal for use by less-experienced paddlers. Canoe and kayak access at Calumet Memorial Park District’s Riverfront Park in South Holland begins this water trail in Illinois. Access at the Village of South Holland’s Gouwen’s Park, one and a half miles downstream of Riverfront Park, creates a short stretch for paddling. It is then approximately five miles from Gouwen’s Park to The Forest Preserves of Cook County’s access site at Kickapoo Woods in Riverdale. The Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Little Calumet Boat Launch is two miles downstream of Kickapoo Woods, and near the confluence with the Cal-Sag Channel.
Directions: From 170th Street in South Holland, drive north on either Paxton or Merrill Avenues. At East 166th Place turn west and drive to the end of the street and enter the small parking lot in Riverfront Park. The launch site is directly north of the parking lot. The take-out is on the left in Gouwens Park just past the I-94 Bishop Ford Freeway. Gouwens Park is located at the north end of Seton Drive in South Holland. From the Bishop Ford Freeway exit at 159th Street, and drive west on 159th to the first stoplight at Woodlawn Ave. Turn north on Woodlawn and immediately turn east onto Seton Drive. Follow Seton Dr. east and north past Seton High School into Gouwens Park. Park in the lot and take the foot path to the river. The canoe launch is at the end of the path.
Notes: This short trip can be an easy round trip in low flow conditions. The banks are wooded and the confluence with Thorn Creek is less than ½ mile from the put in at Riverfront Park, so this is also a trip from which to explore Thorn Creek. Thorn Creek may be affected by log jams.
Always check United States Geological Survey (USGS) water data before your trip.