Illinois and Michigan Canal in Illinois

A self-supported trip created by MagicPaddler

Trip Overview

DuPage River DesPlains River I&M Camal (Du_Dis_Canal)

Three of us(MM, QH and MagicPaddler) went on a loop trip east out of Channahon on the canal and transferred to the Des Planes river just before Empress St. We started and ended at the state park in Channahon

9:00 on the water at the old lock house at Channahon headed east.

9:10 just before W Knapp St and there are trees across the canal. We all were able to work our way past by turning back and forth.

We all tried different ways of getting past the railroad tracks with the log jam under them. Any way you do it it�s a portage. I think the best way is to get out on the south side 100 yards before the tracks. The best place to put in is by the fenced in area with tile inside.

As we approach Empress St. the canal starts getting more weeds growing in it. There is a covered map stand where we got out to start the portage. The path is a gravel and asphalt leading through a parking lot with an out house. Follow the path on to the south until it goes in to the woods and down to a deck with benches by a beaver dam.

12:06 We finished the portage from the Canal to the creek and have eaten lunch on the deck.

12:34 last beaver day � logjam before Rt 6. The creek is thick with weeds and they get caught on your paddle and smell bad. I scared up a deer just before we got here.

1:20 We went to the first log jam past rt 6 and then portaged into the quarry less than 100 ft on right side of creek. The brush was thick, low and the bank was steep. We had 2 people carry each canoe and MM dragged his yack across. I think there may be a better place 100 yds. up stream.

We spent about 45 minutes on the quarry before heading for the river. Once on the Des Planes the wind and current moved us along well. Just before entering the Du Page River we saw 2 swans.

3:52 portage from river to canal.

4:22 Get out of canal on left just before entering the locks take the foot bridges across the canal and river

4:44 Canoes are loaded and pulling out of the parking lot.

We saw many birds, including one turkey, turtles and carp. We all got to go for carp rides. The creed from the canal to the river was smelly and weed choked.

Those who would try to follow our tracks should watch water levels. We drug bottom many times. Early in the spring or after a big rain would be a good time to do this rout. The toughest portage was the 50-foot into the quarry because of the thick brush. Any one who has been on wilderness trips with several portages can handle the portages on this trip. You will get your feet wet but I never got in mud more than 3 inches deep. The longest portage was from the canal to the creek.

Plan on about 7 hours to complete the trip.




To get to the State Park in Channahon, IL take I-55 to RT 6 west. About 2.7 miles take a left on Canal St. If you cross a bridge you just missed Canal St. Take Canal 4 blocks take a right into the park.


Check out your route on Google earth or one of the mapping sights that have aerial images (

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location