Boating

Saganashkee Slough Canoe

Enjoy recreational boating on lakes and rivers throughout the Forest Preserves.

 

Whether you have your own boat or are looking to get out on the water for the first time, the Forest Preserves has a boating opportunity for you. Ten of our waterbodies (including two rivers) are open to boating, with convenient boat launches at each location. Boat, canoe and kayak rentals are currently available at Busse Resevoir, Tampier Lake and Skokie Lagoons.

 

Jump to:   Boating Lakes | Boating Rivers | Boat Rentals | Permitted Boats

 

Boaters on Wampum Lake

Boating Lakes

Beck Lake

Near Central Rd & E River Rd in Glenview (map)

Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and the use of electric trolling motors are allowed (any gas motors must be removed). Trailered boat launch available.

Big Bend Lake

Near E River Rd & Golf Rd in Des Plaines (map)

Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and the use of electric trolling motors are allowed (any gas motors must be removed). Trailered boat launch available.

Busse Reservoir & Boathouse Rentals Available

Near E Higgins Rd & I-290 in Elk Grove Village (map)

Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and the use of electric trolling motors are allowed (any gas motors must be removed) at the Main Pool and South Pool. Boating is prohibited at the North Pool. Trailered boat launches available at Main Pool (map) and South Pool (map). Boat rentals available.

Maple Lake & Boathouse Closed

Near Wolf Rd & 95th Street in Willow Springs (map)

Maple Lake is currently closed due to construction of a new boathouse. Please note that boat rentals will be unavailable during the demolition and construction. Private boats are prohibited on Maple Lake. Rowboat and electric motorboat rentals will resume in late summer 2015.

Powderhorn Lake

Near Burnham Ave & S Brainard Ave in Chicago (map)

Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and the use of electric trolling motors are allowed (any gas motors must be removed). Trailered boat launch available.

Saganashkee Slough

Near W 107th Street & Archer Ave in Willow Springs (map)

Canoes, kayaks, rowboats and the use of electric trolling motors are allowed (any gas motors must be removed). Trailered boat launch available.

Skokie Lagoons Rentals Available

Near Tower Rd & I-94 in Northfield (map)

Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and the use of electric trolling motors are allowed (any gas motors must be removed). Trailered boat launch available. Boat rentals available through Chicago River Canoe & Kayak.

Tampier Lake & Boathouse Rentals Available

Near W 131st St & S Wolf Rd in Orland Park (map)

Canoes, kayaks, rowboats and the use of electric trolling motors are allowed (any gas motors must be removed). Trailered boat launch available. Boat rentals available.

 

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Boaters on the Des Plaines River

Boating Rivers

Des Plaines River

All watercraft are allowed (see list). Trailered boat launch location:

  • Plank Road MeadowNear Ogden Avenue & First Avenue in Lyons (map)

 

Carry-in launch ramps locations:

  • Allison WoodsNear Milwaukee Ave & Winkleman Rd in Prospect Heights (map)
  • Dam No. 2 WoodsNear S River Rd & Kensington in Mount Prospect (map)
  • Irving Park Canoe LandingNear N River Road & Irving Park Rd, Schiller Park (map)
  • Stony Ford Canoe LandingNear Joliet Rd & Oak Ave in Lyons (map)
  • Columbia WoodsNear Willow Spring Rd & Des Plaines River in Willow Springs (map)

Little Calumet River

All watercraft are allowed (see list). Trailered boat launch locations:

  • Little Calumet Boat LaunchNear Jackson St & Ashland Ave in Calumet (map)
  • Beaubien Woods Boat LaunchNear E 132nd St & Doty Ave in Chicago (map)

 

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Boat rentals at Busse Boathouse

Boat Rentals

 

Boat rentals are available at Busse Reservoir, Tampier Lake and Skokie Lagoons (the Maple Lake Boathouse is under construction until late summer 2015). Boats are available for rental beginning at 6 am and must be returned no later than 7:30 pm. The rental season is weather dependent, but generally lasts from early April through late October. Please call ahead of time to ensure your preferred location is open.

 

Regulations: Must be 21 or older with valid driver’s license to rent boat and motor (ID card or traffic ticket not acceptable). Four people per boat, two people per canoe (including small children and babies). Only one person can row the boat. No pets. No glass bottles. Cash only.

Busse Reservoir Boat Rentals

Near E Higgins Rd & I-290 in Elk Grove Village (map)

Rentals are available out of the Busse Boathouse at the Main Pool (map). For advance reservations please call 847-228-5253.

 

Rental Item Rate Limit
Boat or Canoe (no motor) $12/hour 1 hour minimum
Boat or Canoe (no motor) $30/hour 8 hours
Boat (with motor) $16/hour 2 hour minimum
Boat (with motor) $50/hour 8 hours
Paddle Boat $10/hour no day rate
Kayak $12/hour no day rate
Additional battery $10 per day
Anchor $1 per day
Cushion $1 per day
Broken Equipment Fee
Oar $40
Oar Locks $15
Props $20
Anchor $15

Tampier Lake Boat Rentals

Near W 131st St & S Wolf Rd (map)

Rentals are available out of the Tampier Lake Boathouse (map). For advance reservations please call 708-361-0460.

 

Rental Item Rate Limit
Boat or Canoe (no motor) $15/hour 1 hour minimum
Boat or Canoe (no motor) $35/hour 8 hours
Boat (with motor) $18/hour 2 hour minimum
Boat (with motor) $60/hour 8 hours
Additional battery $10 per day
Anchor $1 per day
Cushion $1 per day
Broken Equipment Fee
Oar $40
Oar Locks $15
Props $20
Anchor $15

Maple Lake Boat Rentals

Near Wolf Rd & 95th Street in Willow Springs (map)

Maple Lake is currently closed to due to construction of a new boathouse. Please note that boat rentals will be unavailable during the demolition and construction. Private boats are prohibited on Maple Lake. Rowboat and electric motorboat rentals will resume in late summer 2015.

Skokie Lagoons Canoe and Kayak Rentals

Rentals are available through Chicago River Canoe & Kayak.

 

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Permitted Boats & Watercraft

 

In Illinois, all boats and watercraft with a motor or sail must be registered and titled with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and must display their registration. Owners of non-motorized watercraft are required to purchase and display a “Water Usage Stamp” through the IDNR. Watercraft owners outside of Illinois are required to comply with the relevant guidelines in the owner’s state of residence. Personal flotation devices, as mandated by federal law, are required for all watercraft.

 

Permitted at certain waterbodies:*

  • Canoes and Kayaks
  • Non-gasoline powered watercraft (of either traditional construction, or multi-chambered inflatables with a factory installed floor and hull identification number, any gas motors must be removed)
  • Radio-controlled boats
  • Floatplanes
  • Rowboats
  • Sailboats

Prohibited at all waterbodies:

  • Any gasoline-powered boats
  • Flotation devices—including inner-tubes, fly-fishing float-tubes or pontoons, sail-surf boards, towables or inflatable pool toys, lounges or rafts.

*see specific restrictions for each location

 

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Fishing Guide

 

The Forest Preserves of Cook County Fishing Guide lists all waterbodies open to public fishing and boating. Individual maps show the location and depths of each waterbody.

 

The guide is available to download here in PDF format. Printed copies of the Fishing Guide are available at the Forest Preserves Headquarters in River Forest and also at our Nature Centers.

 

Visit the Fishing page for more information about fishing in the Forest Preserves.

 

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Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County