Urban Canoe Adventures

Urban Canoe Adventures

An outdoor adventure is closer than you think…

Why travel far when you can experience rich wildlife and urban adventure in your own backyard? From tranquil lagoons to the bustle of the city, we have paddles that appeal to all interests. Join us and explore the wonderful resource that is the Chicago River! No experience necessary—our fun, knowledgeable guides will provide safety and paddling instruction plus all of the necessary equipment. 

Here's what one guest said after a trip along the North Branch of the Chicago River: 

 Many thanks for the Friends of the Chicago River volunteer [canoe guides]! The volunteers were cheerful, friendly, and resourceful…[they] generally sacrificed themselves for the good of the group. They did all of this with a smile on their faces! What a great bunch of folks! Thanks!



Friends' Paddling Excursions

This season, we are thrilled to offer four different paddles that explore the variety of our river system. Public trips cost $45 per person.

Downtown Canyons Paddle
Date: Saturday, June 28, 2014
Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Meeting location: 1501 N. Magnolia Ave. (Kayak Chicago)

View the wonders of downtown Chicago from an exceptional, river-level perspective. We will share the river with other canoeists and kayakers, as well as motorized traffic as we learn how the river played an important role in the development of our beautiful city. Ages 12 and up.

Register here

Little Calumet River Paddle
Date: Saturday, August 23, 2014
Time: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Meeting location: Little Calumet Boat Launch, Riverdale

Paddle a unique section of river that seldom sees recreational boat traffic. The Calumet region is rich in both biodiversity and human history, and we’ll see evidence of each as we paddle 5 miles from Beaubien Woods to the Little Calumet Boat Launch. 

Register here

Skokie Lagoons Evening Paddle
Date: Saturday, September 13, 2014
Time: 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Meeting location: Tower Road Boat Launch, Winnetka

Watch the river change as the sun sets and the nighttime landscape comes alive. Paddling at night is seldom permitted in the Forest Preserves, but we will have the rare chance to explore the Skokie Lagoons’ nocturnal beauty. 

Register here

North Branch Wilderness Paddle
Date: Saturday, September 27, 2014
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Meeting location: Linne Woods Forest Preserve, Morton Grove

Explore the scenic delights of the North Branch of the Chicago River as we paddle 8 miles from the Willow Road Dam to Linne Woods. This is a lovely stretch of river that meanders through many forest preserves with great opportunities to see wildlife. Come ready for an adventure: we may get a little muddy getting out of our boats for some portages, where we carry the canoes over obstacles like dams. 

Register here

Friends' Custom Trips

We can customize a paddling trip for private groups to make your event extra special. Great for all different types of organizations who wish to experience the Chicago River. We are already booking dates for 2014, so give us a call to plan your trip today! Please contact Claire Snyder for more information at (312) 939-0490 ext.14 or csnyder@chicagoriver.org.


Chicago Park District Family Canoe Trips

Check out the Chicago Park District for updates on family canoe trips offered in partnership with Friends.

Forest Preserves Cook County Canoe Trips

Check out the Forest Preserves of Cook County for updates on family canoe trips offered in partnership with Friends.


For more Information

Contact Claire Snyder at (312) 939-0490, ext. 14, or csnyder@chicagoriver.org