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Guided Paddle on the Kankakee River

Schedule and Location

(Registration closes on July 31, 2019, at 11:59 p.m.)
Saturday, August 3, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (rain date August 10)
Meet offsite

Fees and Registration

$76.00 member
$88.00 nonmember
(Fees include admission to the Arboretum)
BY PHONE: 630-719-2468 ( Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Course Description

Paddle a section of the Kankakee River, a National Water Trail noted for its scenic beauty and water quality, and learn the natural history of this unique area.

About the Trip

The Kankakee is a gentle Class I river ideal for first-time paddlers. It provides an interesting variety of water conditions. Suitable for persons of all ages, from teens to senior citizens, a canoe trip on the Kankakee is a relaxing change of pace with constantly shifting scenic views and opportunities to observe many creatures in their natural habitats.

Expect to paddle for between four and five leisurely hours down a scenic 12-mile section of the river, from the City of Kankakee to the Kankakee River State Park. We will stop for a rest and snack at the “Indian Caves,” a limestone canyon on the Perry Farm Park at Bourbonnais. At the end of the trip, we will have time to look for the rare Kankakee Mallow, a wildflower found only in Kankakee State Park! Then enjoy your sack lunch before getting transported back to your vehicle.

About the Kankakee River

The Kankakee River was designated as a National Water Trail in June 2016 for its entire length, starting at its origin in Indiana, all the way to its confluence with the Des Plaines River in Illinois.

As a National Water Trail, the Kankakee is part of a system of exemplary water trails that are cooperatively supported and sustained. The Kankakee River National Water Trail meanders through islands, cliffs, and wetlands in Illinois. The Northwest Indiana Paddling Association also maintains a website with information about the Kankakee National Water Trail.

Explored by de La Salle in 1679, the largely rural Kankakee River probably looks, in some sections, much like it did when he first saw it. It is considered one of the cleanest rivers in the Midwest, and it is popular with both recreational boaters and fishermen.

What to Expect

Boat rental, paddles, and life jackets provided, along with basic paddle instructions.
Parking and restrooms available at our meeting place.
Expect to spend four to five hours on the water, with a rest break about halfway.
Bring snacks and a sack lunch for a picnic afterwards while we wait for transportation back to our cars.
We will meet at the launch site at 9:00 a.m. sharp, where we will have a quick paddle lesson before hitting the water.
Expect to return to your car by 4:00 p.m.

Course number



Trevor Edmonson, naturalist and site steward at Langham Island Nature Preserve

Course Details

  • Notes: Held outdoors. No experience required. Driving directions to launch site will be provided. Limit 17.
  • Recommended ages: Ages 16+.
  • Supplies: Please bring a sack lunch, beverage and snack. Wear secure sandals (flip flops not recommended) or shoes you don’t mind getting wet. Sunscreen and sun protection recommended.

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