Trip Tips: Paddling The Chicago River
Canoe trips :Friends of the Chicago River offers several trips, including the all-dayDowntown Canyons, a Chicago River Wilderness trip on the North Branch,Loop the Goose and Moonlight on the Skokie Lagoons.
If you’re taking a taxi, bus or train, meet the group at the startingpoint rather than the end point, from which those with vehicles areshuttled.
The Flatwater Classic canoe and kayak race is in October, with a 7¼-milepaddle from Clark Park to Ping Tom Memorial Park.
Boat rentals : Chicago River Canoe & Kayak rents boats on the North Branch ofthe river, two miles west of Wrigley Field at 3400 N. Rockwell, justsouth of Addison Street, and also in Skokie and Winnetka.
Kayak Chicago rents kayaks for paddlingon the North Branch, by the North Avenue Bridge near Goose Island.
Urban Kayaks rents boats on the Riverwalk atColumbus and Wacker and on the lakefront at Monroe Harbor.
Launch cruises : Wendella Boatsgives 1½-hour narrated boat tours of the Chicago River and Lake Michiganall day from its dock on the northwest corner of the Michigan Avenuebridge.
Mercury Chicago’s Skyline Cruiselinealso offers three Chicago River and Lake Michigan cruises, one by nightand one that allows dogs, from its dock on the southeast corner of theMichigan Avenue bridge.
Water taxis : The Chicago WaterTaxi takes passengers betweenMichigan Avenue and Chinatown.
Wendella Boats also gives a daily75-minute Chicago River Architecture Tour. The dock is at the MichiganAvenue Bridge.
River Exploration Tour: Advanced Kayak Tour + Fish Monitoring
Days/Times: Every other Thursday at 4:00 p.m.Every other Friday and Saturday at 9:30 a.m.Length: 3 hoursDistance: up to 3.0 milesAges: Must be at least 16 years old Experience requirements: kayaking experience required
Learn about plans to develop the Chicago River as a blue-green corridor of accessible, public space that benefits people as well as wildlife as you kayak around Goose Island. Youll walk away with a deepened understanding of the rivers ecology and how you can be an advocate for its revival. The tour will also include fish monitoring and an optional litter cleanup.
Kayaking The Chicago River
We were planning on going Kayaking this Saturday, I was just wondering if there are spots to get off on the Chicago River, we were wanting to grab a bit to eat.
if you plan to get a bite along the river, DEFINITELY wash your hands thoroughly….. TRUST ME, i know from experience!!!!
www.estateultrabar.com. Great place with docks for your boat. Upscale bar food like lobster mac and cheese. Right under the division street bridge
Is there a place to get off near the Vienna Beef Factory Store and Deli
John, I take it you didn’t read the entire second link posted by Dave above. Specifically, under the “Personal Safety” section, 8th item.
IMHO, you should take the time after the kayaking to go back to your hotel and take a full shower before doing anything else.
In all honesty I don’t see Kayaking the Chicago River as a fun thing to do. The river has large boat traffic and in spots gets very narrow with large concrete walls. I have seen – many times Kayaks along the walls bouncing around in the boat wakes….. not fun. Like others have said, although the river water quality has greatly improved over the years it is still not something I would want on my body.
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Wms Boathouse At Clark Park Il
Chicago launched a fourth boathouse in 2016 as part of its effort to revive the rich history of the Chicago River. As a result, the boathouse has become home to one of the most famous routes for kayaking in the city. The route sits between Clark Park and River Park, which have become popular spots for the quiet escape that they offer.
You can rent kayaks from Clark Park Boathouse and paddle through the areas serene beauty spots. Among your options, you can travel through Horner Park, which is one of the largest green spaces on the North Side.
The presence of deciduous trees on the river banks is an excellent background for your kayaking trips. To make the most of kayaking here, its best to visit during the warm spring and summer months.
Where To Go Kayaking In Chicagoland With Kids
Escape in the tranquility of nature by riding a kayak.
While there are tons of hiking trails to get lost in, dont overlook the other fun way to unplug and explore the ins and outs of Chicagolandby kayak.
A day or even just a few hoursout on the water will guarantee that your kids will put their phones and iPads down so you can spend some quality time together.
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After Years Of Neglect This Urban Waterway Has Become A Place To Play
The Chicago River never has run clear.
Before settlers arrived, it was a lethargic prairie river that ranthrough a swamp the Potawatomi called Checaugou for “swamp weed,” or “wild onion.”
Then factories and slaughterhouses turned it into a sewer. At theconfluence of the main branch with the north and south branches, BubblyCreek was named for the methane gas that rose from decomposing carcasseson the river bottom.
When it fouled Lake Michigan, source of the city’s drinking water, cityofficials reversed the river and sent Chicago’s filth to Peoria.
But in the 1980s, after being dredged, straightened, dumped on and dyed,the Chicago River finally started getting some respect and amuch-needed cleaning.
Now, sightseeing excursions ferry tourists past downtown landmarks, andarchitecture cruises are packed with rubberneckers.
Water taxis take commuters and tourists to Chinatown and the Willis Tower. Yachts and sailboats glide out of the marinas of SouthBranch condos and boat clubs, vying for space with barges and anoccasional canoe.
When you see 20 canoes, that’s a Friends of the Chicago Riverexpedition. They’re open to anyone, so one year I joined the all-dayDowntown Canyons trip.
The group champions the river’s 156 miles and reasons that, if peoplewould just get out on the river, they’d grow to love it and want toprotect it.
It’s worked the organization now has thousands of members andvolunteers, including former Minnesotan Mark Sorteberg.
Kayaking In And Around Chicago: 10 Of The Best Places To Paddle And Canoe
Chicago is an excellent place to go kayaking and to spend leisure time outdoors. The city is home to over 20 forest preserves, waterways, and up to 60,000 acres of natural space. Viewing Chicago from the water gives you a new perspective of the things it has to offer outdoors. Plus, you also get a break from all its famously noisy traffic.
The only challenges are choosing the right kayak locations, getting the right gear, and maintaining safety at all times. Once you do this, Chicago is home to a broad range of kayak spots, with loads of forest preserves, an abundance of wildlife, and various other outdoor locations.
So with that in mind heres our list of the best places to kayak in Chicago and if youre looking for other nearby destinations check out our post on the best places to kayak in Michigan here.
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Tips For Kayaking On The Chicago River
Before embarking on your journey, a few tips could help you once youre on the water. Remember, you share the river with many larger motorized vessels, so your safety should be a top priority when kayaking on the Chicago River. Below are some tips that could prove beneficial:
- You should always wear a PFD
- Remain near the banks and away from all larger vessels on the river
- Always stick to your right
- When crossing a channel, make sure you do so quickly
- Wait for bigger boats to pass and then allow the wake to subside before continuing
- You will need to display navigational lighting when kayaking in the dark
Kayaking Down The Chicago River Is An Essential Bucket List Activity For Both Chicago Locals And Visiting Tourists
Whether youre down by Chicago Riverwalk flanked on either side by the citys famous highrise architecture or taking in the skyline from the protected waters of Monroe Harbour, kayaking in Chicago is a truly unforgettable activity.
After shutting down for the winter season, kayaking returned to Chicago in May. The icy conditions of the last few months have been hostile enough to make the bravest of souls think twice before taking to the water but now Chicago is in full bloom, there are few activities as enriching.
Urban Kayaks finally reopened their Riverwalk location at the start of May kicking off the spring and summer seasons of kayaking.
Historic Chicago Tours offer 90-minute guided excursions on the Main Branch of the river paddling through the citys core via skyscraper canyons and under historic bridges while learning about Chicagos rich history. There are extra special tours at sunset and twilight where you can experience the soft golden glow bounce through Chicagos artificial valleys or watch Art on the MARTs Spring 2022 Program from the water.
As Chicago heats up further kayaking extravaganzas will be returning. Happy Hour kayaking is followed by a tiki party with fellow kayakers at the Island Party Hut afterward and once Firework Tours return they offer a truly memorable night beneath a bursting sky.
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Shedd Aquariums Kayak For Conservation
Paddle along the North Branch Canal of the Chicago River guided by a Shedd nature expert. These eco kayak tours offer you the opportunity to look nature in the eye, learn about innovative efforts to improve the health of the Chicago River for wildlife and help keep our waterways cleanall while taking in the beauty of our city.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Seashore and Indiana Dunes State Park are not far from Chicago and are very popular on the weekends. My first visit to the beach at Indiana Dunes did not leave a good impression, as I found the beach to be crowded and dirty. However, paddling there was an entirely different experience. We launched from the State Park side and had great views of the dunes as we paddled around the shore and up a nearby river. There is also great hiking in the area, plus camping too if you want to make it an overnight trip!
Need Chicago hiking ideas?
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Do You Need A Licence To Use A Kayak On A River
Yes, you must have an Illinois Certificate of Number and a Kayak Operator License. However, there are no minimum age limitations for unpowered kayaks, whereas powered kayaks do.
It would help if you obeyed all state, federal and local boating laws, rules and regulations. You should always research and find out the boating rules and regulations in any state or location. It varies between states and countries.
Of The Best Places To Kayak In Illinois
Illinois has an incredible variety of waterways, from Lake Michigan, to the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, to placid lakes and reservoirs, to the spectacular wetlands of the Big Muddy. You can go from the hustle and bustle of Chicago to the peace and quiet pristine forests, and even ski or surf depending on the season. With easy access to a huge range of kayaking opportunities, Illinois has something for everyone.
So lets get down to having a look at 10 of the best places to kayak in Illinois.
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Wateriders Chicago Kayak Tours And Rentals
Wateriders is a great kayaking company that offers guided tours and kayaks for rental. They are based in an essential location at the East Bank Club, which means youre just a few minutes of paddling away from the center of downtown Chicago.
They are also highly affordable, so you know youll be getting the best value for money when booking your trip or renting out a kayak to go paddling on your own. Another bonus youll receive when using their company is free kayaking lessons and on-water training for those who require it. Below you can see a list of some of the best tours that Wateriders offers:
History And Architecture Tour If youre interested in exploring Chicagos rich history and beautiful buildings, then the History and Architecture tour is perfect for you.This tour is two hours long and will guide you through the citys early years. You will also be able to see many unique ironwork bridges, including an operational drawbridge system, the second largest in the world!
Tickets prices are listed as $65 for adults and $45 for children under 16 years old.
Moonlight Paddle This tour is unique because it takes place during the night! You can experience the magnificence of the Chicago River at its calmest and most illuminating time. The lights from the city will glisten onto the waters, making this a trip you will never forget.
Tickets are listed as $50 for adults and $35 for children under 16 years old.
Kayakers Struck By Sightseeing Boat On Chicago River Cpd Says
Two women were struck by a sightseeing boat while kayaking on the Chicago River Tuesday.
CHICAGO — Chicago police said two kayakers were hit by a sightseeing boat on the Chicago River Tuesday.
Police said the incident happened near the State Street Bridge while two women were kayaking the river.
It was not immediately clear how the incident happened, but police said their Marine Unit responded.
One woman refused treatment at the scene, police said. The other woman was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in good condition with minor injuries.
Chicago police did not say whether any citations would be issued to the women or to the sightseeing boat. No further details were available.
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My Experience Kayaking The Chicago River
Kayak the Chicago River- the best way to see the city of Chicago
Last summer, during my visit to Door County, I had the opportunity to try kayaking for the first time in years. Since I wasnt very active back then, I was surprised that I enjoyed it.
When searching for a birthday gift for my dad this year, I stumbled upon a Groupon for an architectural tour of Chicago via kayaks with Wateriders. What an amazing way to enjoy the city! I asked my dad if he would be interested and it was settled this would be the perfect gift for him!
His birthday was back in April, but this weekend, on a hot July day, we were finally able to take part in the Wateriders- Classic Chicago History and Architecture Tour!
The Skokie Lagoons Il
The Skokie Lagoons are a collection of seven lagoons that are just north of Chicago and provide the perfect place to go kayaking. It is home to a unique 800-acre wood preserve and artificial lagoons that date back to when the Civilian Conservation Corps created them in the 1930s.
The work these Marine Corps did at the lagoon was exceptional as it is nowadays home to a diverse range of plant life and native birds. You can spend quality time exploring this areas vast reaches, including several miles of wooden reserves.
However, beginners have to be careful when kayaking through this region. The main reason for this is due to the many concerns associated with water quality issues in Cook County. If you want to rent Kayaks, consider getting them from the Chicago River Canoe and Kayak. The entrance to the lagoon would be through Willow Rd, east of I-94/Edens Expy.
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Who Is Going To Love It
Intermediate paddlers will have no problem, and beginning paddlers can certainly do the trip with a little guidance.
Anyone who enjoys architecture or simply would like to explore Chicago. If you dont have a boat yourself, there are several outfitters who both rent boats and offer guided tours. Try Urban Kayaks, Water Riders, Kayak Chicago and Chicago River Canoe and Kayak.
Is It Safe To Kayak In The Chicago River
It is not completely safe to kayak in the Chicago River. The water of the river contains high levels of bacteria. Therefore, you should avoid contact with water and thoroughly rinse yourself and your gear to prevent diseases.
We recommend using a paddle leash so it is easy to retrieve if you happen to drop it in the water. Moreover, avoid splashing other people as you paddle. If you are immunocompromised, we advise against going to the Chicago River.
There is no doubt that you should never swim in the Chicago River. If you capsize, you should get out immediately and see a doctor. Whenever you exit the river, give your vessel, paddles and anything thats touched the water a thorough rinse with soap and clean water.
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North Branch Of Chicago River
Located in the Avondale area, the Chicago Rivers North Branch offers a bit more of a nature-infused Chicago kayaking experience than the areas located closer to downtown.
Instead of big skyscrapers and busy streets, youll find green riverbanks and quieter stretches of water here. Townhomes and quaint cottages replace high rises and offices. All in all, this is a much more tranquil area to go kayaking in Chicago, away from the stress and bustle of downtown.
Chicago River Canoe and Kayak offers rentals from the east bank of the river near Addison Street. Rentals start at $20 per hour for a single kayak and $25 per hour for a double.
- Address: 3400 N Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 60618
A Unique Way To Experience Chicago
My husband I and was looking to do something different in Chicago and saw to the kayakers on the river and since the kayaks clearly display their website we were able to locate the company. It was a fun way to take in the sites and learn some fun facts about Chicago. Our guide was GREAT. We spent about 1:45 hours on the water, we did not get very wet. I would definitely recommend this activity.
Let me begin with the fact that I’ve lived in Chicago all of my life and I work downtown so some may wonder why. But I love these tours. My family has been on their tours a handful of times. I even booked a private trolley as part of my son’s college graduation party. The drivers and guides have always been safe and professional. I recommend them to everyone.
This was one of the best experience I had recently. I guild took us on the river for a 2 mile stretch and explained the architecture in the best way possible. The tour guide was one of the wonderful person and explanation and stories were exemplary. We would definitely consider this again for our outing.
I took a kayak tour of the Chicago River over July 4th weekend. The tour went the length of the main branch and our guide provided some interesting history. It is a very unique way to see the beautiful buildings that line the river. The water is a bit rough and there is a lot of boat traffic but the guides are really good at making sure you keep up and are safe.
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