Paddle the waters of Nippersink Creek, the largest tributary to the Fox River. The creek and its wetlands support a thriving diversity of fish, frogs, and other aquatic creatures. Shorebirds, water fowl and other wading birds can be seen along the shorelines in addition to a myriad of native wetland plants and prairie wildflowers. The creek itself is a shallow, calm waterway.
There are four canoe launches along Nippersink Creek Canoe Trail for put in/take out:
- Keystone Road Landing, 6500 Keystone Rd., Richmond
- Pioneer Road Landing,7405 Pioneer Rd., Richmond
- Lyle C. Thomas Memorial Park, 2816 Blivin St., Spring Grove
- Nippersink Canoe Base 400 E. US Highway 12, Spring Grove
Estimated travel time along the longest stretch from Keystone Road to Nippersink Canoe Base can be up to four hours, while other stretches are estimated as two-hour paddles. Canoeing is also permitted on the 22-acre Lake Atwood at the Hollows in Cary.
An interpretive guide of the Nippersink Creek Canoe Trail complete with images, audio and text is available through the Prairie State Conservation Coalition Hiking app. The app features self-guided nature tours from around the state and is available for $.99 on both iOS and Android, download from iTunes App Store or Google Play.
For those less inclined to use their phones while on the water, here is a print version of the tour: A float down Nippersink Creek—Keystone Road Landing to Lyle C. Thomas Memorial Park.
Canoe & Kayak Rentals –
Ed’s Rental, McHenry (815) 385-3232 (canoes & kayaks)
Main St. Outfitters, Wauconda (847) 526-7433 (kayaks only)
Scull & Oars, Wonder Lake (815) 790-4249 (canoes & kayaks)
Tip-A-Canoe, Burlington Wi (262) 342-1012 (canoes & kayaks)
Lake Atwood at The Hollows Conservation Area Site Map
Launch a canoe, kayak or electric motorized boat on the 22 acre Lake Atwood located within The Hollows Conservation Area in Cary. A boat launch is available. Take a leisurely paddle or venture off on the crystal clear waters to go fishing.
Check real – time water levels of Nippersink Creek The second graph of the USGS water levels, lists cubic feet per second; at least 100 cfs would allow for an enjoyable ride for canoes.
There is also a free water level app you can download for your android phone – Riverflows.net
When levels are above 750 cubic feet per second, or 7 feet, all launches will be CLOSED as clearance under two bridges will be difficult.
Note: The Conservation District maintains and clears debris only where the District owns the land on both sides of the creek – not the entire route – ie. from Keystone Landing to just beyond Pioneer Landing. The District does not remove obstacles on / along private property.
All activities in this area are at the user’s own risk. It is up to the individual watercraft user to make a decision on whether or not to paddle the waterway given weather, water conditions, and skill level. A river has risks. There may be hazards and dangerous conditions. During low precipitation periods of drought or high waters after heavy rains, travel along Nippersink Creek is not advised.
Water Usage Stamps:
Canoers, Kayakers and paddle boats in Illinois are now required to purchase an IDNR Water Usage Stamp. Water Usage Stamps are mandatory, except for those watercraft on which existing registration has not yet expired. Stamps are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors. For more information visit IDNR’s boating information.