Boating, Canoeing & Kayaking

People canoeing and kayaking at Skokie Lagoons

Rent a boat, launch your own or join a paddling event on one of the Forest Preserves lakes or rivers.

On this page:


a person in a canoe on Saganashkee Slough. Photo by Jim Phillips.
A paddler on Saganashkee Slough. Photo by Jim Phillips.

Lake Boat Launches

Please review the types of boats allowed at each launch and read our boating regulations before launching. Gasoline-powered boats are prohibited on all lakes.


Beck Lake
East River Rd & Central Road
Cook County, IL 60016 (view web map of Beck Lake)
(near Des Plaines)

A trailered boat launch provides access for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with electric trolling motors.


Big Bend Lake
Bender Rd, south of Golf Rd
Des Plaines, IL 60016 (view web map of Big Bend Lake)

A trailered boat launch provides access for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with electric trolling motors.


Busse Lake Boating Center
E Higgins Rd/Rte 72, east of I-290/Hwy 53
(near Elk Grove Village)
224-415-6554

Busse Lake Boating Center features two trailered boat launches for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with electric trolling motors. It also features an accessible canoe landing. Boat rentals available.


Powderhorn Lake
S Brainard Ave, east of S Burnham Ave/S Ave O

A trailered boat launch provides access for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with electric trolling motors.


Saganashkee Slough Boat Launch
107th St, west of S Willow Springs Rd/104th Ave
(near Willow Springs)

An accessible trailered boat launch provides access for canoes, kayaks, rowboats and boats with electric trolling motors.

The boat launch closes from roughly October to April each year to accommodate migrating waterfowl. Check if the closure is active.


Tampier Lake Boating Center
W 131st St west of S Wolf Rd
(near Orland Park)
708-830-5194

Tampier Lake Boating Center features a trailered boat launch for canoes, kayaks, rowboats and boats with electric trolling motors. Boat rentals available.


Tower Road Boat Launch
(part of Skokie Lagoons)
Tower Rd, west of Forestway Dr
(near Winnetka)

An accessible trailered boat launch provides access to Skokie Lagoons for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with electric trolling motors.


Paddlers on the North Branch of the Chicago River during the annual Ralph Frese Memorial Paddle.
Paddlers on the North Branch of the Chicago River during the annual Ralph Frese Memorial Paddle.

River Canoe Landings & Boat Launches

Please note the type of launch (trailered boat launch or carry-in canoe landing) at each location and read our boating regulations before launching. Learn more about all Water Trails in Northeastern Illinois at paddleillinoiswatertrails.org.


Des Plaines River

Allison Woods
Milwaukee Ave & Winkleman Rd
Cook County, IL 60062 (view web map of Allison Woods)
(near Northbrook)

Carry-in canoe landing.


Columbia Woods
Willow Springs Rd & Corcoran Rd
Willow Springs, IL 60480 (view web map of Columbia Woods)

Carry-in canoe landing.


Dam No. 2 Woods
E Des Plaines River Rd, south of E Euclid Ave/W Lake Ave
Cook County, IL 60056 (view web map of Dam No. 2 Woods)
(near Mount Prospect)

Carry-in canoe landing.


Irving Park Road Canoe Landing
Des Plaines River Rd, north of Irving Park Rd

Carry-in canoe landing.


Maywood Grove
Ohio St & Des Plaines Ave
Maywood, IL 60153 (view web map of Maywood Grove)

Carry-in canoe landing. Home of the Greater Maywood Paddling Program.


Northwestern Woods
Joseph Schwab Rd, south of Minor St
Des Plaines, IL 60016 (view web map of Northwestern Woods)

Carry-in canoe landing.


Plank Road Meadow Boat Launch
Ogden Ave, east of 1st Ave

A trailered boat launch provides access for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with trolling motors.


Stony Ford Canoe Landing
Joliet Ave/43rd St, west of S Harlem Ave

Carry-in canoe landing.


Little Calumet River

Beaubien Woods Boat Launch
E 132nd St, east of S Greenwood Ave

A trailered boat launch provides access for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with trolling motors.


Kickapoo Woods
Halsted St, south of W 144th St
Riverdale, IL 60827 (view web map of Kickapoo Woods)

Carry-in canoe landing.


Little Calumet Boat Launch
Jackson St, east of S Ashland Ave
(near Riverdale)

A trailered boat launch provides access for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with trolling motors.


North Branch of the Chicago River

Linne Woods
W Dempster St, east of Lehigh Ave
Morton Grove, IL 60053 (view web map of Linne Woods)

Carry-in canoe landing.


Salt Creek

Bemis Woods-North
Wolf Rd, south of 31st St
Cook County, IL 60523 (view web map of Bemis Woods-North)
(near Oak Brook)

Carry-in canoe landing.


Twenty-Sixth Street Woods-West
26th St, east of S 25th Ave
(near La Grange Park)

Carry-in canoe landing.


Accessible Canoe Landings & Boat Launches

Accessible Canoe Landings

Accessible canoe landings include accessible parking and a paved path to the landing. The surface of the landing is stable, firm and slip resistant. Canoes and kayaks are allowed at canoe landings.


Busse Lake Boating Center
E Higgins Rd/Rte 72, east of I-290/Hwy 53
(near Elk Grove Village)
224-415-6554

Busse Lake Boating Center features two trailered boat launches for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with electric trolling motors. It also features an accessible canoe landing. Boat rentals available.


Camp Bullfrog Lake
9600 Wolf Rd
Willow Springs, IL 60480 (view web map of Camp Bullfrog Lake)
312-636-9785

*Kayak rental with accessible landing available for registered campers only.


Accessible Boat Launches

Accessible boat launches include accessible parking and a paved path to the launch. The surface of the launch is paved. The types of boats allowed at each launch vary.


Tower Road Boat Launch
(part of Skokie Lagoons)
Tower Rd, west of Forestway Dr
(near Winnetka)

An accessible trailered boat launch provides access to Skokie Lagoons for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with electric trolling motors.


Saganashkee Slough Boat Launch
107th St, west of S Willow Springs Rd/104th Ave
(near Willow Springs)

An accessible trailered boat launch provides access for canoes, kayaks, rowboats and boats with electric trolling motors.

The boat launch closes from roughly October to April each year to accommodate migrating waterfowl. Check if the closure is active.


Boat Rentals

Rent a boat at any of these locations:

Regulations: Must be 18 or older with government issued-ID to fill out a rental waiver. No more than three adults per row boat or fishing boat. Minimum age and weight: 3 years, 35 lbs. Dogs welcome at owner’s risk and operator’s discretion. Properly-fitted life vest must be worn by every paddler for duration of rental period. No alcohol or glass bottles.


Busse Lake Boating Center

Busse Lake Boating Center

Boat Rental Availability

Busse Lake Boating Center boat rentals are available Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm on a first come, first served basis. Boat rentals are open through October 31. Please call 224-415-6554 to confirm rentals are available. Masks are required in the boating center area.

The rental season is weather dependent, but generally lasts from early April through late October. Please call 224-415-6554 before visiting to confirm rentals are available.

Busse Lake Boating Center
E Higgins Rd/Rte 72, east of I-290/Hwy 53
(near Elk Grove Village)
224-415-6554

Busse Lake Rental Rates
WatercraftRate
Row Boat (Includes Oars)$20/hr
Single Kayak$20/hr
Tandem Kayak$25/hr
Canoe$20/hr
Fishing Boat with Battery & Trolling Motor (2 hr minimum)$25/hr
Paddle Boat$20/hr

Discounts: Monday Discount: $5 off all per-hour rates (except holidays). Paddle Card: Fifth visit FREE after four paid visits.

Refreshments & fishing supplies: Food, beverages and fishing supplies (licenses, bait and equipment) may be available for purchase. Guided tours and lessons may be available during certain times. Call ahead to confirm availability and pricing.


Maple Lake Boating Center building and pier

Maple Lake Boating Center

Boat Rentals Closed

Maple Lake Boating Center boat rentals are closed temporarily until further notice.

The rental season is weather dependent, but generally lasts from early April through late October. Please call 708-506-0227 before visiting to confirm rentals are available. Private boats are prohibited on Maple Lake.

Maple Lake Boating Center
Wolf Rd, south of 95th St
(near Willow Springs)
708-506-0227

Maple Lake Rental Rates
WatercraftRate
Row Boat (Includes Oars)$20/hr
Single Kayak$20/hr
Tandem Kayak$25/hr
Canoe$20/hr

Discounts: Monday Discount: $5 off all per-hour rates (except holidays). Paddle Card: Fifth visit FREE after four paid visits.

Refreshments & fishing supplies: Food, beverages and fishing supplies (licenses, bait and equipment) may be available for purchase. Call ahead to confirm availability and pricing.


paddlers on Tampier Lake near the Tampier Lake Boating Center

Tampier Lake Boating Center

Boat Rental Availability

Tampier Lake Boating Center boat rentals are available Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm on a first come, first served basis. Boat rentals are open through October 31. Please call 708-830-5194 to confirm rentals are available. Masks are required in the boating center area.

The rental season is weather dependent, but generally lasts from early April through late October. Please call 708-830-5194 before visiting to confirm rentals are available.

Tampier Lake Boating Center
W 131st St west of S Wolf Rd
(near Orland Park)
708-830-5194

Tampier Lake Rental Rates
WatercraftRate
Row Boat (Includes Oars)$20/hr
Single Kayak$20/hr
Tandem Kayak$25/hr
Canoe$20/hr
Fishing Boat with Battery & Trolling Motor (2 hr minimum)$25/hr

Discounts: Monday Discount: $5 off all per-hour rates (except holidays). Paddle Card: Fifth visit FREE after four paid visits.

Refreshments & fishing supplies: Food, beverages and fishing supplies (licenses, bait and equipment) may be available for purchase. Call ahead to confirm availability and pricing.


Tower Road at Skokie Lagoons

Boat Rental Availability

Tower Road boat rentals are available Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm on a first come, first served basis. Boat rentals are open through October 31. Please call 847-414-5883 to confirm rentals are available. Masks are required in the boating center area.

The rental season is weather dependent, but generally lasts from early April through late October. Please call 847-414-5883 before visiting to confirm rentals are available.

Tower Road
(part of Skokie Lagoons)
Tower Rd, west of Forestway Dr
Cook County, IL 60093 (view web map of Tower Road)
(near Winnetka)
847-414-5883

Boating Regulations

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. 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 Some Waterbodies*

  • Canoes and Kayaks
  • Non-fuel powered watercraft
    • Watercraft with traditional construction
    • Multi-chambered inflatables with a factory installed floor and hull identification number
    • Please note: Any gasoline, propane or other fuel powered motors must be removed from the watercraft, even if not in use
  • Radio-controlled boats
  • Floatplanes
  • Rowboats
  • Sailboats

*see specific restrictions at each boating location.


Prohibited at All Waterbodies

  • Any fuel powered watercraft (including gasoline, propane, etc.)
  • Flotation devices, including:
    • inner-tubes
    • fly-fishing float-tubes or pontoons
    • sail-surf boards
    • stand up paddle boards (SUP)
    • towables
    • inflatable pool toys, lounges or rafts.

Paddling Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

All Events »

Paddling Safety

The Forest Preserves is a member of the Paddling Safety Task Force. Learn more about the Task Force or review paddling information from other members:


Top 10 Safety List

  1. Take an on water course for safety & paddling.
  2. Wear your properly fitted lifejacket at all times on the water.
  3. Understand cold water safety.
  4. Check high water conditions prior to launching.
  5. Check weather conditions and plan accordingly.
  6. Bring water and snacks for long days on the water.
  7. Have a first aid kit and cell phone in a dry bag.
  8. Leave your itinerary with someone and estimated time off the water.
  9. Have a safety check list.
  10. Know your limits.

participants in the Greater Maywood Paddling Program

Greater Maywood Paddling Program

Located at Maywood Grove, the Greater Maywood Paddling Program provides opportunities for organized groups within the Maywood community to connect to nature and water through kayaking experiences.

Group leaders are trained on kayaking, use and care of kayaking gear and how to lead groups on kayaking trips. Once certified, trained leaders will have access to the Kayak Gear Library, which has all the supplies needed for an organized group paddling trip.

To learn more about the program or to become a paddling group leader, email experience.kayaking@cookcountyil.gov.


Maywood Grove
Ohio St & Des Plaines Ave
Maywood, IL 60153 (view web map of Maywood Grove)

Model Boating

Designated model boating areas are available for any and all individuals and/or organizations on a first-come, first-served basis.

Model boating events with more than 25 people (participants and/or spectators) must obtain a permit by contacting our Permits Department at fpd.permits@cookcountyil.gov or 800-870-3666.


Beverly Lake
(part of Spring Lake)
W Higgins Rd/Rte 72, west of Beverly Rd
Cook County, IL 60010 (view web map of Beverly Lake)
(near Barrington)

Potawatomi Woods
E Dundee Rd, east of N Milwaukee Ave
Cook County, IL 60062 (view web map of Potawatomi Woods)
(near Northbrook)

Midlothian Reservoir
167th St, west of Cicero Ave

*Model boats are permitted on the east lake only.


Sundown Meadow
S LaGrange Rd, north of 67th St
Countryside, IL 60525 (view web map of Sundown Meadow)