Kankakee River State Park

Quick Facts

Kankakee River State Park

Illinois

(815) 933-1383

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

On land treasured for centuries - first by Native Americans, later by traders and farmers, and as early as the 1890s by recreation seekers - Kankakee River State Park offers you its proud heritage in an unspoiled setting. Anglers, canoeists, hunters, campers, hikers, bicyclers and other outdoor enthusiasts find the park's recreational opportunities unsurpassed. The naturally channeled Kankakee River, listed on the Federal Clean Streams Register, is the focus of the park's popularity.

Enveloping both sides of the Kankakee River for 11 miles, in an area 6 miles northwest of Kankakee, the park consists of approximately 4,000 acres. Illinois Routes 102 on the north and 113 on the south frame the park, with Interstates 55 and 57 both providing convenient access.

Map of Kankakee River (IL)

Latitude, Longitude: 41.202036, -87.973709

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Activities

  • Boating

    The river's shallow water and rocks are no problem for canoeists. Bring your canoe and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

  • Bicycling

    A bicycle trail begins at Davis Creek Area and travels 10.5 miles of trails in the form of a linear trail along the river and a loop in the west end of the park. Biking trails are located on the river's north side.

  • Camping

    Pleasant sites at reasonable prices make Kankakee River State Park a great place to pitch camp. Potawatomi Campground, a Class A area, has 110 sites and two Rent-a-Cabins in a wooded setting. More than 150 sites are offered at Chippewa Campground, which has Class B electric and C facilities. The Park closes at 10pm and all campgrounds observe quiet hours from 10 p.m. - 7 a.m. No vehicular traffic is allowed during this time. You must be 18 years old to rent a campsite and you must be able to establish your camp at the time you obtain a permit. All campsites share a picnic table and a campgrill. Camping is only allowed in the campgrounds.Reservations are taken for Kankakee River Class A, B, and C campgrounds at http://www.reserveamerica.com/.

  • Fishing

    The Kankakee is a clean river, great for landing smallmouth bass, channel catfish, walleye and northern pike. Rock Creek is also a good spot. The park has two boat ramps for launching craft with motors of 10 horsepower or less - there's a launch at the Chippewa Campground and a launch at Area 9 parking lot on the south side of the river. However, please realize boating can be hazardous because the river is shallow and rocky.

  • Hiking

    Hiking trails are located on the river's north side. A 3-mile route along Rock Creek lets hikers take in the beauty of limestone canyons and a frothy waterfall.

  • Historic Sites

    Several prehistoric sites are documented within Kankakee River State Park. The park is within a region used by Illini and Miami Indians at the time of the first European contact in the 1670s and 1680s. By 1685 the Miami were sufficiently numerous that the Kankakee River was called the River of the Miami. Kickapoo and Mascouten also were in the region from 1679 until the 1760s. Potawatomi Indians hunted along the Kankakee River in the 1760s, and by the 1770s, the Potawatomi, Ottawa and Chippewa nations - "The Three Fires" - dominated the area. The most extensive village was "Rock Village" or "Little Rock Village" inside the present-day park near the mouth of Rock Creek. In 1830 it was the site of the last great Indian Council. Following the Black Hawk War in 1832, the Potawatomi ceded all of their land along the Kankakee and Illinois rivers to the United States. Most Potawatomi left the area by the end of the decade, except for Chief Shaw-waw-nas-see, whose grave is commemorated by a boulder along the nature trail at Rock Creek.

  • Horseback Riding

    Rent a horse at the State Park Stables located on DeSelm Rd, 0.75 miles north of Route 102. Guided trail rides, pony rides, riding lessons can all be arranged by contacting the stables. The stable is open year round, weather permitting. During the Spring, Summer, and Fall they are open every day except Tuesday. During the winter, the stable is open on Saturday & Sunday, but weekday rides are available by appointment. Please call for pricing and hours. 815/802-2050.

    The Equestrian Campground off Illinois Route 113 is open only from April 1 through October 31. However, the Equestrian Trails operate on a seasonal basis, please see the chart for dates and hours of operation:

    A 12-mile equestrian trail is located in the wildlife management area along Route 113 and is open April 1 through October 31.

  • Hunting

    The park's abundant wildlife makes it a popular spot for hunters. Only bow hunting is allowed for deer. Firearm hunting is permitted for duck, pheasant, woodcock, dove, rabbit, squirrel, fox, coyote and racoon. Before taking any game, contact the site superintendent for opening dates, shooting times and areas open to hunting. There is an Archery Hunt - Deer for the physically challenged. Call the park for more information.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    All motorized vehicles are prohibited on all of the Kankakee River State Park Trails. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the bicycle trail.

  • Picnicking

    For a light lunch or a large get-together, check out the park's picnic areas. Shelters and tables are placed in pleasant settings throughout the park, and you'll also find playgrounds in several locations. Shelters are available on a first-come first-served basis. All shelters have campgrills. Three shelters may be reserved at www.reserveamerica.com. Groups of 25 or more are asked to obtain a permit, which is free, at least two weeks before planning to visit the park.

  • RVing

    All motorized vehicles are prohibited on all of the Kankakee River State Park Trails.

  • Winter Sports

    When there's snow cover of 4 inches or more, the park is open from sunrise to sunset for snowmobiling. Directional signs for trails are posted and maps are available at the park office. There are also cross country ski trails located on the north side of the river.

Park Partners

Park Office Concessions

For refreshments, ice, camping supplies, firewood, and bait visit the log cabin concession stand, just inside the park's main entrance on the right. The Concession operates on a seasonal basis. Please call the site ahead of time to make sure the concession is open for business. Hours are Fri-Sun 11am - 5pm during camping season.

(815) 933-1383

Directions

Driving

From North or South on Interstate 57, Take I 57 to Exit 315 (Bradley-Bourbonnais) Take Rte. 50 south to the first stop light which is Armour Rd. Turn right on Armour Rd. and go to the 3rd stop light which is Rte. 102. Turn right (west) on Rte.102. The park is located 7 miles west on Rte. 102.

From the North on Interstate 55, Take I 55 to exit 238 (Braidwood). Take Rte. 129 south until coming to Strip Mine Rd. Turn left (east) on Strip Mine Rd. Follow this road until coming to a small town called Wilmington. In Wilmington, turn right on Water Street. Water Street becomes Rte 102. The park is located 10 miles east of Wilmington on Rte. 102.

From the South on Interstate 55, Take I-55 north to Dwight Exit (Rte.17). Take Rte. 17 east. Go approximately 20 miles to Warner Bridge Rd. Turn left (north) on Warner Bridge Rd. Follow this road approximately 10 miles until coming to Rte. 102. Turn right (east) on Rte. 102. The park office is located 1 1/2 miles east of Warner Bridge Rd.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(815) 933-1383

Links