The water trails of Northeastern Illinois are maintained through the support of many partners from local municipalities to forest preserve districts to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Included below is further information on those organizations and their websites include resources on upcoming paddling events and river cleanups!

Event Calendars:

Checks these calendars regularly for updated event information.

Illinois Paddling Council Events

Forest Preserves of Cook County Events

Forest Preserves of Lake County Events

Forest Preserves of DuPage County Events

McHenry County Conservation District Events

Boone County Conservation District Events

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County Events

Forest Preserve District of Will County Events

Calumet Stewardship Initiative Events

American Canoe Association Events

Other Water Trails In and Around Illinois

If you live in another part of Illinois or are traveling and curious to discover the local water trails, the following resources are available:

Lincoln Heritage Water Trail

Pecatonica River Water Trail

Yellow Creek Water Trail

Spoon River Water Trail

Macinaw River Water Trail

Banner Marsh Sate Fish and Wildlife Area

Rock River Water Trail

Illinois Water TrailKeepers

TK-logo-FINALIllinois Water TrailKeepers is a volunteer stewardship program of Openlands and Illinois Paddling Council. Volunteers adopt a stretch of water trail and paddle it regularly, reporting on conditions and in some cases organizing clean ups to keep the water trails passable and enjoyable by the public.

Volunteer with Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Community Paddling Program

The Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Cook County Department of Public Health have started an innovative, ground breaking program to make paddling accessible to beginners, groups, and those who do not own their own boats through a community paddling initiative, the Greater Maywood Paddling Program and Kayak Gear Library.  The program provides opportunities for organized groups within the Maywood community to connect to nature and water through kayaking experiences. Group leaders of participating community partners will be trained on kayaking, use and care of kayaking gear and how to lead groups on kayaking trips. Once certified, trained leaders will have access to the use of the Kayak Gear Library which has the supplies for an organized group paddling trip.

The Forest Preserves will also offer public paddling events for the community in addition to the group leader training. The paddling program and launch align with the Forest Preserves’ Gateway plan, which identifies over 30 sites as gateways to introduce people to the preserves.

The community paddling program will be focused at Thatcher Glen Pond at Trailside Museum of Natural History (near the Chicago Avenue informal access site) and along the Des Plaines river starting at the Maywood Grove paddling launch, and concluding at the Plank Road Meadow Boat Launch. For information on how to get your organized group involved in the Greater Maywood Paddling Program and Kayak Gear Library, contact

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