Illinois Fox River
The Illinios Fox is a slow marshy river that starts west of Milwaukee and flows south past Chicago and eventually to the Mississsippi. It’s not an elite river for kayaking, but there are some pleasant stretches.
September 26th, 2015
4 hours 31 minutes (3 hours might be more typical)
Outside of a boring flowage section, this is a fun trip with nice segments of wetgrass, woods and finally rapids through downtown Waukesha. Read More...
August 7th, 2022
A guest review for the Illinois Fox River below Waukesha. Read More...
August 8th, 2016
Under an hour
A guest review for the Illinois Fox close to the Illinois border. Read More...
September 8th, 2018
2 hours 41 minutes
A first-time paddle on the Illinois River which featured spectacular wildlife and tall sandstone cliffs. The trip itself was overshadowed by nearby Starved Rock, which is one of of Illinois' best parks. Read More...
Thanks to Mike Svob, author of “Paddling Southern Wisconsin,” for the info about the lower sections.
- Upstream of Mitchell Park: The river actually seems big enough to run up here and there doesn’t seem to be too many logjams. However, I am not familiar with the area and am unsure of possible public access points.
- Mitchell Park to Wray Park: 4.5 miles that is mostly an open wetgrass paddle. Not exotic, but should be pleasant.
- Wray Park to Grede Park: Reviewed here.
- Sub Trip – Wray Park to Wonderland Tap: 3.8 miles and nice, with wetgrass and some woods.
- Sub Trip – Wonderland Tap to the Waukesha Dam: 1.9 miles on a boring, noisy flowage. While there is a park by the dam, I’m not sure where you can leave your car.
- Sub Trip – Waukesha Dam to Grede Park: .7 miles on a really narrow, fast section with lots of light rapids. Very urban, but great fun!
- Grede Park to Sunset Drive: 2.5 miles. River slows and widens. Might be nice spots.
- Sunset Drive to Hwy 59: 1.0 miles. Slow and weedy section of the river.
- Hwy 59 to Hwy H: 1.8 miles.
- Hwy H to CR I: 5.2 Miles.
- Cty I to Cty ES/National Ave: 7.0 miles. Part of the Vernon Marsh State Wildlife Area. Much of this is marshy.
- Cty ES to Big Bend: 7.6 miles (reviewed by Mark Rhodes)
- Big Bend to Conservation Drive/Tichigan Lake Public Landing: 7.4 miles (reviewed by Morrall Films)
- Tichigan Landing to Waterford Dam: 5.0. I presume mostly a boring, over-developed flowage.
- Waterford Dam to Sailer Woods/Hwy 36: 3.5 miles. From here on we lose most of our swamp and get higher banks and more woods. There is one other dam to portage in this section. There are numerous other access options on this route.
- Sailer Woods to Burlington (Congress Street): 4.8 miles
- Burlington to Hwy JB Bridge Access: 6.6 miles
- Hwy JB Bridge Access to Hwy W: 3.0 miles
- Hwy W to Silver Lake (Fox River Park): 6.0 miles.
- Silver Lake to Wilmont: 2.5 miles. Reviewed here.
- Wilmont to Hwy 173 Landing: 2.8 miles (you are in Illinois now)
- Hwy 173 Landing to Chain O’ Lakes State Park: 3.9 miles
How did your trip turn out? Questions or comments? Feel free to leave your feedback.