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Kishwaukee River in Illinois

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

The Kishwaukee River is a wonderful river, a quiet meandering river that changes character every few miles, from tight serpentine to wide long straight runs. I have started in Cherry Valley, Kishwaukee Forest Preserve and Hincliffe Memorial Forest Preserve in Rockford Illinois. The entire length of the "Kish" is fairly shallow and slow, meandering through small towns, subdivisions, cornfields and forest preserves. I usually paddle upstream for one to three hours, making the occasional portage over the shallow spots, then paddle back to my car. Herons, fishing Eagles, Kingfishers, lots of fish and many clams are seen all along the river, and visibility in the water extends 2 feet or more.


There are a large number of hotels in Rockford.


You can reach the Kishwaukee River in Rockford, Belvidere, Cherry Valley, or as far south as DeKalb Illinois.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location