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Russell Road to Wadsworth Road - Paddle Illinois Water Trails

Russell Road to Wadsworth Road

  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Trail Length:5.9 miles
  • Waterway Trail:Des Plaines River Trails
Des Plaines River Trails, Intermediate, Medium Trips

Russell Road to Wadsworth Road

Directions: A number of Lake County Forest Preserve District canoe launches provide access to the upper Des Plaines River. This section starts at the Russell Road Canoe Launch, one mile east of I-94, on the south side of Russell Road, near the Illinois/Wisconsin border. The trip ends at the Wadsworth Road Canoe Launch, approximately 0.4 miles east of Route 41, on the south side of Wadsworth Road. 

Notes: This relatively wild and scenic trip runs entirely through forest preserves in Lake County. Beware of obstacles such as beaver dams and log jams, which you should portage around.

Always check United States Geological Survey (USGS) water data before your trip.


Kathy Taylor
August 24, 2021

Very scenic paddle/scenery. Good for birders. But be prepared to get out of your boat a LOT. We paddled with a discharge rate of ~1.5 and water levels of ~1.6. At this level we were easily out of our boats 20 times (over 6 miles). Several section had almost no current – slow paddling. We were scraping bottom a lot. Several complete log jams and downed trees that required portage. Higher water levels would have made the trip much more enjoyable, but a few of the obstacles would have been more dangerous. One log (or maybe beaver?) dam had a several inch drop, and it would have been easy to get trapped between two downed trees less than 10′ apart. Not a paddle to take beginners on.

August 30, 2021

Thank you for this detailed information!

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