McHenry County Conservation District  •  18410 US Highway 14 •  Woodstock, IL 60098  •  815-338-MCCD(6223)

Canoe Access




A canoe trip on the Nippersink Kayaking Nippersink Canoe Launch A couple paddles along the shores of Nippersink creek

Paddle the Waters of Nippersink Creekprintable map       
 360° view of Keystone Landing


Check real - time water levels of Nippersink Creek


For Your Safety; Know Before You Go:

Launches remain open during periods of drought and high waters. All activities in this area are at the users own risk. It is up to the individual watercraft user to make a decision on whether to use or not use the area given the current weather or water conditions. 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 the Nippersink is not advised.


Check real - time water levels of Nippersink Creek  The second graph of the USGS water levels, lists cubic feet per second; at least 50 cfs would allow for an enjoyable ride. When waters are moving above 300 cubic feet per second, it is considered fast.  When levels are above 750 cubic feet per second, or 7 feet, clearance under two bridges will be difficult.


If a blockage along the creek is reported, the District will not close the launches. Alerts will be posted on the front page of the website under Site Advisories. When time, resources and river conditions allow District staff will clear the blockage.


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 for put in/take out: Keystone Road Landing in Wonder Lake; Lyle C. Thomas Memorial Park in Spring Grove; Nippersink Canoe Base in Fox Lake; and Pioneer Road Landing, north of Harts Road in Ringwood. 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.

The District does not rent water crafts. For rentals try:

Tip A Canoe ( 262-342-1012
Ed's Rental 815-385-3232



Lake Atwood at The Hollows

Launch a canoe, kayak or electric motorized boat on the 22 acre Lake Atwood located within The Hollows Conservation Area. A boat launch is available. Take a leisurely paddle or venture off on the crystal clear waters to go fishing.




IDNR logoWater 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.



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