Illinois and Michigan Canal (Illinois)


Setting: We picked this location because it was close to the Farnsworth House, which we toured beforehand, and Oswego, where we saw a program of short films (Luna Fest) after canoeing. It was a cloudy, cool, breezy day in the 60’s.

Water level: none available (Paddling Illinois book says there is always enough water)

Put-in: 4:15 pm at a nice sandy landing with a large parking lot at Bridge St. access near Channahon State Park in Channahon, IL.

The paddle: Downstream approx 2 mi (45 min) where we could see a marina to our left on the DesPlaines River which runs very close to the canal.  A bike trail, the old tow path, runs along the canal. The canal was a little trashy at the start. The water was clearer at the start than farther downstream. Current was minimal. The surroundings were fairly isolated except for a few houses, one of which had a herd of goats. Our turnaround point was at the site of a scenic wooded bluff.

Take-out: 6:15 pm

Wildlife: doe and faun drinking at the edge of the canal and 2 other adult deer, kingfishers, orange and black bird (?oriole), muskrats, goats.

Other possible put-ins in the area: There is a nice sandy landing at Silver Springs State Park in a lake off the Fox River. The water was a clear blue-green color like a glacial lake. There is another (concrete) landing nearby on the river bank. We heard good reports on the canoeing, but there might be too much current to paddle upstream (or too shallow). We also saw a nice picnic area in the park across from the Farnsworth House, which is downstream from the canoe landings.