Address 1: 5314 West Rt. 102
Open all Year: Yes
Number of Sites: 260
Full Hook: Yes
On land treasured for centuries – first by Native Americans, later by traders and farmers, and as early as the 1890’s by recreation seekers – Kankakee River State Park offers you its proud heritage in an unspoiled setting. Anglers, canoeists, hunters, campers, hikers, bicyclers and other outdoor enthusiasts find the park’s recreational opportunities unsurpassed. The naturally channeled Kankakee River, listed on the Federal Clean Streams Register, is the focus of the park’s popularity.
Enveloping both sides of the Kankakee River for 11 miles, in an area 6 miles northwest of Kankakee, the park consists of approximately 4,000 acres. Illinois Routes 102 on the north and 113 on the south frame the park, with Interstates 55 and 57 both providing convenient access.
The park’s abundant wildlife makes it a popular spot for hunters. Only bow hunting is allowed for deer. Firearm hunting is permitted for duck, pheasant, woodcock, dove, rabbit, squirrel, fox, coyote and racoon. Before taking any game, contact the site superintendent for opening dates, shooting times and areas open to hunting. There is an Archery Hunt – Deer for the physically challenged. Call the park for more information.
The Kankakee is a clean river, great for landing smallmouth bass, channel catfish, walleye and northern pike. Rock Creek is also a good spot. The park has two boat ramps for launching craft with motors of 10 horsepower or less – there’s a launch at the Chippewa Campground and a launch at Area 9 parking lot on the south side of the river.
The river’s shallow water and rocks are no problem for canoeists. Bring your canoe and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
For a light lunch or a large get-together, check out the park’s picnic areas. Shelters and tables are placed in pleasant settings throughout the park, and you’ll also find playgrounds in several locations. Shelters are available on a first-come first-served basis. All shelters have campgrills. Three shelters may be reserved by calling the park office for reservation forms. Groups of 25 or more are asked to obtain a permit, which is free, at least two weeks before planning to visit the park.
The park’s trail system stretches for miles along both sides of the river. Hiking, biking and cross-country ski trails are on the river’s north side, while horse and snowmobile trails can be found on the south. A 3-mile route along Rock Creek lets hikers take in the beauty of limestone canyons and a frothy waterfall. A bicycle trail begins at Davis Creek Area and travels 10.5 miles of trails in the form of a linear trail along the river and a loop in the west end of the park.
A 12-mile equestrian trail is located in the wildlife management area along Route 113 and is open April 1 through October 31. When there’s snow cover of 4 inches
or more, the park is open from sunrise to sunset for snowmobiling. Directional signs for trails are posted and maps are available at the park office.
Rent a horse at the park’s riding stables on Deselm Road, 0.75 mile north of Route 102. Guided horse rides, pony rides and cookouts all can be arranged at the stable.