your paddlesports destination

Des Plaines River in Illinois

Trip Overview

Put in two recreational kayaks at the designated launch (very nice). Parking for maybe 10-15 cars, toilet, trail map. It's all just east of 41N on south side of Wadsworth. Once in the river, we paddled north, and quickly were in the midst of the wilderness. Can occasionally hear traffic, but didn't see any. In fact, I don't think we saw a singe building after we cleared the launch area. There were no rapids, riffles, etc. Hardly any current at all. We paddled maybe 3-4 miles up river, and encountered 3 beaver dams - one of which was about a 3 foot dam. There was an area to the side to portage, and my friend took it. I just lifted over the dam. The two others were minimal in size, but did require a lift over. Other than that, the river was very low, and we did hit the occasional gravel that required a lift over. I was very impressed with the beauty of this part of the river. Having been on lower stretches, this one felt the most pristine, and wild. Marshes, woods, bogs - it's all there. Very good bird watching also.


Parking lot for 10-15 cars
Nice launch are with fishing platform to one side.


Boat registration w/IL
No put in fees


From Chicago:
41 north, exit at Wadsworth, take first right after you go over the river.


Paddling Illinois
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip