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Stony Ford to Columbia Woods - Paddle Illinois Water Trails

Stony Ford to Columbia Woods

  • Skill Level:Beginner
  • Trail Length:7.2 miles
  • Waterway Trail:Des Plaines River Trails
Beginner, Des Plaines River Trails, Medium Trips

Stony Ford to Columbia Woods

Directions: Enter the Stony Ford Canoe Launch on the south side of Joliet Road just west of the Des Plaines River. Just over 0.5 miles downstream, the river passes through the Chicago Portage National Historic Site and changes from its natural bed to the man-made Des Plaines Diversion Channel as the river takes a turn to the southwest.

Approximately four miles downstream is a small landing at Santa Fe Prairie, an Illinois Nature Preserve. This small, rare, high quality prairie, located in the midst of an industrial park, has some interesting interpretive signage and an interpretive center in a restored caboose.

The take-out is on river right 0.5 miles downstream of the Willow Springs Road Bridge.

Notes: The historic Stony Ford, for which the put-in is named, is still visible in low water about 300 feet upstream of the canoe launch.

The Des Plaines River Diversion Channel was constructed in the early 1890s to move the Des Plaines River to the north side of its valley in order to make room for construction of the Sanitary and Ship Canal.

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