North Branch Wilderness Paddle

Tags: Canoe Program and Ticketed events

Join us on our most adventurous trip of the season on Saturday, September 16! This is a beautiful, intimate, meandering stretch of river that passes through many protected landscapes. The highly forested setting allows paddlers to get away from the bustle and noise of the city and presents canoeists with the opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife and enjoy this special hidden nature nestled within our urban landscape. The “wild” setting will require paddlers to get in and out of their boats occasionally along potentially uneven and muddy ground as we move around obstacles like dams and debris. Depending on river levels, some walking in the river may also be required in shallow water. 

We will meet at Linne Woods (6308 W Dempster St, Morton Grove) at 9:30 a.m., take a shuttle bus up to Blue Star Memorial Woods in Glenview, and paddle down the North Branch of the Chicago River back to our cars. We will stop for lunch (please bring your own!) during the trip, and will finish up around 3:30 p.m. Total distance paddled: ~3.5 miles.

Our fun, knowledgeable guides will provide safety and paddling instruction plus all of the necessary equipment. Many of our guides rank this paddle as their favorite on the river!  

Click here to register. 

Detailed trip itinerary: 

  • 9:15 a.m.: meet at Linne Woods (6308 W Dempster St.). Free parking is available in the parking lot at Linne. 
  • Meet canoe guides and receive canoeing equipment, including paddles and personal flotation devices. Some waterproof bags to protect electronics may be available; otherwise, please bring your own or plan to leave technology behind. Linne Woods marks the end of our paddle for the day.
  • 9:30 a.m.: Board a shuttle bus and ride up to Blue Star Memorial Woods, in Glenview. This marks the start of our paddle. Canoe guides will have boats waiting when you arrive, and will give a safety and paddling orientation on the bus.
  • 10:30 a.m: Launch canoes, and paddle approximately 3.5 miles down the North Branch of the Chicago River back to our cars. Keep an eye out for wildlife, and enjoy the river! Paddlers will need to exit the boat on occasion to move around obstacles like dams and debris. The canoe guides will facilitate this process, but folks should be prepared to get in and out of their boat along ground that is potentially uneven, wet and muddy.
  • 12:00 p.m.: Stop for picnic lunch. Please bring your own, as well as plenty of water. Restrooms available at lunch stop. 
  • 3:30 p.m.: Arrive back at Linne Woods and depart. Trip end time is flexible as it depends on group ability and river conditions

Ages 5 and up. Due to the length of this trip, we recommend that younger children attend a shorter paddle. Each canoe seats two paddlers, with the option for a third non-paddler to sit in the middle. Trips cost $50 per person, $45 for members, $20 for children under the age of 10. Trip costs may be refunded up to a week in advance. Any cancellations within 7 days of the trip are non-refundable. If trips are cancelled due to weather and/or hazardous conditions, participants will be offered the option of rescheduling or will be fully refunded. Click here for other trip FAQs. 

Register hereOnce you register, you will receive a confirmation email with detailed information for the day, including maps to the trip site.

Questions? Contact Joanne So Young Dill: or (312) 939-0490 ext. 23.