Nippersink Canoe Base

377 acres | 0.46 miles of trail

Site Hours
Open Daily Sunrise to Sunset (Some sites are subject to Seasonal Closures or closures due to special circumstances).

400 E US Highway 12, Spring Grove

Trail Map  

Nippersink Canoe Trail Map

Nippersink Creek Float Guide
(also available in the PSCC App!)

Situated along the southern banks of Nippersink Creek, the 377-acre conservation site is home to a variety of natural communities including savanna and woodland, marsh, fen and sedge meadow. The creek and its wetlands support a thriving diversity of fish, frogs, and other aquatic creatures. Water fowl and other wading birds can be seen along the shorelines in addition to a myriad of native wetland plants and prairie wildflowers.

Once overgrown and choked by invasive brush, Nippersink Canoe Base now boasts a gallant oak and hickory grove where sun dapples the woodland floor. A small shelter provides a brief respite and lunch spot after a morning canoe ride, while a creekside fire pit and a short looped nature trails offers visitors additional ways to enjoy the scenic site.

Closures And Water Levels

Paddlers Take Note:  The Conservation District maintains and clears debris only where the District owns the land on both sides of the creek – ie. from Keystone Landing to Pioneer Landing –  not the entire route. The District does not remove obstacles on/along private property. Downed trees or river debris can occur at anytime along the entire route and we cannot provide updated conditions. Paddling this river system is entirely at your own risk!  Only you can decide whether your skills as a paddler are appropriate for the river conditions on any given day.  Nippersink Creek is one of the highest quality streams in the state of Illinois!  You can help keep it that way be following The 7 Principles - Leave No Trace.

The second graph of the USGS water levels, lists cubic feet per second; at least 100 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, all launches will be CLOSED due to lack of clearance under two bridges. There is also a  free water level app you can download for your android phone –

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.

In 1976, the District purchased 71 acres for its strategic location at the confluence of Nippersink Creek and the Fox River and opened the site shortly afterward. The site provided paddlers will a put in/pull out location. In 2006, the Conservation District purchased the 113-acre from the Kattner family who farmed the area since 1950.  Shortly following, the District began an extensive restoration on the 113-acre site to restore the hydrology to the wetlands and to adjoin uplands to a diverse wetland complex. The former fens, marshes and sedge meadows surrounding the stream were ditched in the early 20th century to allow for agricultural fields. Thereby, sub-surface tile fields had to be removed, 8,300 feet of ditch were filled, 500 feet of severely eroded stream bank underwent stabilization to create a more natural slope, 35 acres of exotic species were removed, and a diverse mix of native prairie/wetland were planted to reduce erosion into the newly re-created wetlands and stream while providing improved cover for native wildlife.

In 2008, the Board of Trustees approved a Master Plan for the overall site. In fall of 2009 the site temporarily closed to the public to allow time to clear brush and make additional improvements. In fall 2010 the site was rededicated and opened to the public.