Nippersink Creek Canoe Trail 

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. During low precipitation periods of drought or high waters after heavy rains, travel along Nippersink Creek is not advised.

When levels are above 650 cubic feet per second, or 6.5 feet, all launches will be CLOSED as clearance under two bridges will be difficult. All activities on waterways 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. Rivers and lakes have risks. There may be hazards and dangerous conditions. 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.

Paddlers Please 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.

Download Trail Map

Launches Along the Trail 
Keystone Road Landing, 6500 Keystone Rd., Richmond
Pioneer Road Landing, 7049 Pioneer Rd., Richmond
*Lyle C. Thomas Memorial Park, 2816 Blivin St., Spring Grove (owned by the Village of Spring Grove)
Nippersink Canoe Base, 400 E. US Highway 12, Spring Grove 


Interpretive Trail Guide
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 the App Store or Google Play.

Printable Interpretive Trail Guide

Lake Atwood at The Hollows Conservation Area  
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. Paddle Boarding is also permitted on the 22-acre Lake Atwood at the Hollows in Cary.

Paddle Boarding Paddle boarding is now permitted on Lake Atwood at The Hollows Conservation Area. Paddle boarding is not permitted on other District waters. 

Kayak the Kish
The Conservation Districts of McHenry and Boone Counties have teamed up to share facilities at County Line Road just north of Route 20, in Marengo. Put in on the Boone County side and park across the street on the McHenry County side (4700 County Line Rd., Marengo). Paddle roughly eight miles to Belvidere Park District’s Red Horse Bend Canoe Launch, at Lawrenceville Road, east of Genoa Road.

Water Usage Stamps
As of June 1, 2018, the Illinois Water Usage Stamp will no longer be needed for non-motorized watercraft on the waters of the State. However, if you venture into the Fox River System, a waterway sticker is still required for non-motorized vessels.