We enjoyed a slow, lazy, easy, 3 1/2 hour float on one of the most underused stretches of the Fox River.
Launched from Cornish Park, Algonquin, right below the dam, in early afternoon. The water was low and warm. After the initial lightly turbulent tail-water at the launch, the river flattened out and flowed S-L-O-W-L-Y along. In about 1/4 mile we approached the bike trail that runs on a former railroad right-of-way. The bridge that crossed the river was built by the railroad, and was built of large stone blocks. It's a really attractive bridge. The builders used the old tried and true stone and bolder footing protection which caused a little waviness underneath the bridge. My wife didn't want to go through that so she took the river-right chute. That was smoother, but really shallow and she ran aground. I found an opening without rocks right in the middle and I squirted through.
After that, the river flattened out, and with the exception of a few places where streams and creeks joined the flow, and obstructions both submerged and surface (sand/ gravel bars, downed trees, islands, etc), stayed flat for the remainder of the 4 mile trip. We only saw a few people actually out on the water. We passed a lot of people fishing from shore, and two wading. It was pretty much all ours.
We saw more herons of every type and size that we've ever seen. Fish were actively feeding from Algonquin to the other side of Buffalo Park Forest Preserve. We saw a bald eagle circling on some thermals, gaining height as he soared. At one point, just before Bolz Road, we ran across some otter pups. I was able to get within 3 feet of one as it swam with a fish in its mouth. That was cool beyond belief.
Once we got into the stretch of river adjacent the the bike path on the river-left side wee started seeing duck blinds. There were more than a few of them, and I don't think I'd want to paddle that area during hunting season. It was at this point the the river fanned out quite a bit. It got pretty wide as the Carpentersville dam was getting close. The river right side also tuned into meadow, and without any trees to block it, a pretty stiff breeze blew up out of the South West. That made paddling harder, even though we were going down stream. The water got a little choppy too, but just barely. Pretty soon our take out, Fox Shores Forest Preserve, came up on river left.
Can't wait to do it again.
Bathrooms, parking and drinking water at each end.
One small block East of Rt 31 on Rt 62 in Algonquin, IL. Launch from the park on the Southwest corner, (the one with the clock tower).
1/3 (ish) mile North of Kings Road on Williams in Carpentersville, IL
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)