Sunday, September 6, 2015

Kayaking Chicagoland's Fox River

The Fox River is popular with power boaters, so I look for areas they don't frequent. I have put in at McHenry Dam and paddled downstream, where the first mile or so is protected as no wake alongside Moraine Hills State Park. South of there you must take care as the boaters speed up. Other good launches are at Fox River Shore Forest Preserve boat ramp just north of Carpentersville Dam, Elgin's Voyageurs Landing Forest Preserve just north of where I-90 crosses the river, and Blackhawk Forest Preserve off Route 31 south of South Elgin.


Water levels are usually acceptable around Chicagoland, though I have run into areas where I had to walk the boat when I paddled the Fox out of the Wedron area heading down to Ottawa where it meets the Illinois River. As would be expected, though there may be more water level around the suburban areas, there are far fewer intrusions by civilization in the far southern sections of the river.


Scenic value is high, especially when in areas where a forest preserve abuts the river. There are dams every four to fifteen miles, so be aware of their locations. Many of the dams have exit pads before the dam and launch pads below the dam. 

The bridge in the photo below is the I-90 Tollway, and you can see a bike bridge under the bridge. A good location to put-in is Voyageur's Landing Forest Preserve on the west bank of the river.


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