- Boat launches may be closed due to weather.
- The main park closes at 8:00 pm.
- The park office does not accept reservations. please go to www.reserveamerica.com
- The concession stand is closed until further notice.
- The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Quarantine is in effect for Kankakee County. No firewood can be brought into or taken out of the park. Alternate sources must be used.
- The Day
Use area on the west side of Warner bridge will be open 9am
- 8pm daily. No camping is allowed in this area.
- The Park office is open Monday - Friday 8 am - 3:30 pm except for major holidays.
land treasured for centuries - first by Native Americans, later by traders
and farmers, and as early as the 1890s by recreation seekers - Kankakee
River State Park offers visitors 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.
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.
sites are documented within Kankakee River State Park. The park is within
a region used by Illini and Miami Indians at the time of the first European
contact in the 1670s and 1680s. By 1685 the Miami were sufficiently numerous
that the Kankakee River was called the River of the Miami. Kickapoo and
Mascouten also were in the region from 1679 until the 1760s. Potawatomi
Indians hunted along the Kankakee River in the 1760s, and by the 1770s
the Potawatomi, Ottawa and Chippewa nations - "The Three Fires"
- dominated the area. The most extensive village was "Rock Village"
or "Little Rock Village" inside the present-day park near the
mouth of Rock Creek. In 1830 it was the site of the last great Indian
Council. Following the Black Hawk War in 1832, the Potawatomi ceded all
of their land along the Kankakee and Illinois rivers to the United States.
Most Potawatomi left the area by the end of the decade, except for Chief
Shaw-waw-nas-see, whose grave is commemorated by a boulder along the nature
trail at Rock Creek.
Noel Le Vasseur and
other fur traders, including Hubbard Chabare and Bourbonnais, traded with
the Potawatomi along the Kankakee and Iroquois rivers in the 1820s. When
the Potawatomi left the area in 1838, Le Vasseur persuaded a number of
his fellow French Canadians to emigrate from Quebec to the Bourbonnais
Township area. Because of his settlement efforts, he is called "the
father of Kankakee."
A marker on the west
bank of Rock Creek Bridge commemorates the log cabin village of Rockville.
Construction of the village began in 1840, nine years after William Baker and other Euro-Americans
first began farming along the Kankakee River.
The Kankakee &
Iroquois Navigation Company - later known as the Kankakee Company - was
chartered in 1847 to provide water power and a navigable waterway from
the Illinois & Michigan Canal to Warner's Landing, along the site
of the present-day Warner Bridge Road. The company failed in the early
1880s, shortly after the Wabash Railroad came through. At the Chippewa
Campground, hand-cut limestone pillars mark where a railway bridge was
to have been built before financiers ran out of money.
Just inside the park's
main entrance is Smith Cemetery, with the graves of several family
members, most of whom died of yellow fever at the turn of the century.
A major industry in
the area in the 1890s was the Custer Bowery Amusement Park, which frequently
drew crowds from Chicago. The park was gone by the 1920s, but by then
the river had become a popular spot for summer cottages. The area became
more accessible to vacationers in 1928 when concrete roads were built
along both sides of the river. In 1938, Chicago resident Ethel Sturges
Dummer donated 35 acres of land for a state park. Commonwealth Edison
turned over another 1,715 acres to the state in 1956. With the company's
additional grants in 1989, the park now roughly totals 4,000 acres.
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, turkey, dove,
rabbit, squirrel, fox, coyote and raccoon. Before taking any game, contact
the site office for opening dates, shooting times and areas open
to hunting. For information about archery deer hunting for the physically challenged please call the park.
Hunter Fact Sheets:
Momence Waterfowl | Momence
The Kankakee is a
clean river, great for landing smallmouth bass, channel catfish, Walleye
and Northern pike. Rock Creek also is a good angling spot. The park has two boat
ramps: a launch at the Warner Bridge Day Use Area and a launch at the Area 9 parking lot
on the south side of the river. Both launches are for launching craft with motors of 10 horsepower or less. Boating can be
hazardous because the river is shallow and rocky.
The river's shallow
water and rocks are no problem for canoeists. Bring your canoe or rent locally and enjoy
the beautiful scenery.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Quarantine is in effect for Kankakee County. No firewood can be brought into or taken out of the park. Alternate sources must be used.
Pleasant sites, at
reasonable prices, make Kankakee River State Park a great place to pitch-camp. Potawatomi Campground, classified as Class A (showers and electricity) and open only through camping season, has 110 sites and two Rent-a-Cabins
in a wooded setting. More than 150 sites are offered at Chippewa Campground,
sites are Class BE (electricity only, no showers) and Class C (no electricity, no showers) and open year-round. Reservations
are taken for Kankakee River Class A, BE, and C campgrounds.
The campgrounds close at 10 p.m. and all campgrounds observe quiet hours from 10 p.m.
- 7 a.m.. No vehicular traffic is allowed during this time. You must be 18
years old to rent a campsite and must be able to establish your camp
at the time you obtain a permit. All campsites have a picnic table and
a campgrill. Camping is only allowed in the campgrounds. Credit cards are not accepted. No alcohol is allowed.
Campground Map | Chippewa
Campground Map |
Cabin Information Sheet
Campground off Illinois Route 113 is open from April 1 through October
31. Equestrian trails operate on a seasonal basis,
see chart for dates and hours of operation under the trails section.
Equestrian Campground Map
Davis Creek Campground is available by reservation for chaperoned youth and church groups. All
areas require camping permits, available at the park office or from park
personnel in state vehicles. Groups of 25 or more are required to obtain a free activity permit from the park office. All
correspondence should be mailed to P.O. Box 37, Bourbonnais, IL 60914.
Davis Creek Campground
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-serve basis. All shelters have campgrills. Three shelters
may be reserved at www.reserveamerica.com. Groups
of 25 or more are asked to obtain a free permit from the park office at least two
weeks before the park visit.
Maps and Information Sheet
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 along
the river and loops 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. After January 21, 2013 and 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 at Area 4 and maps are available at the park office.
River Equestrian Trails Schedule
1 - mid May
p.m. to Sunset (hunters may be present in this area)
May - August 31
to 11 a.m. (hunters may be present in this area)
(hunters may be present in this area - it is recommended that equestrians wear blaze orange clothing)
Rent a horse at the State Park Stables located on DeSelm Rd, 0.75 miles north of Route 102. Guided trail rides, pony rides and riding lessons can be arranged by contacting the stables. The stable is open year round, weather permitting. During the spring, summer, and fall the stables are open every day except Tuesday. During the winter, the stable is open on Saturday and Sunday; weekday rides are available by appointment.Call for pricing and hours. (815) 802-2050
are prohibited in the park and campgrounds at all times.
Because the Kankakee
River is unpredictable with fast currents, drop offs and a rocky bottom,
no swimming is allowed in any area, including Rock Creek.
All motorized vehicles
are prohibited on all of the Kankakee River State Park trails. Motorized
vehicles are not allowed on the bicycle trail.
Quiet hours are 10 p.m.
- 7 a.m. Vehicle traffic is not allowed during quiet hours.
From North or South
on Interstate 57, Take I 57 to Exit 315 (Bradley-Bourbonnais) Take
Rte. 50 south to the first stop light which is Armour Rd. Turn right on
Armour Rd. and go to the 5th stop light which is Rte. 102. Turn right
(west) on Rte.102. The park is located 7 miles west on Rte. 102.
From the North
on Interstate 55, Take I 55 to exit 238 (Braidwood). Take Rte. 129
south until coming to Strip Mine Rd. Turn left (east) on Strip Mine Rd.
Follow this road until coming to a small town called Wilmington. In Wilmington,
turn right on Water Street. Water Street becomes Rte 102. The park is
located 10 miles east of Wilmington on Rte. 102.
From the South
on Interstate 55, Take I-55 north to Dwight Exit (Rte.17). Take Rte.
17 east. Go approximately 20 miles to Warner Bridge Rd. Turn left (north)
on Warner Bridge Rd. Follow this road approximately 10 miles until coming
to Rte. 102. Turn right (east) on Rte. 102. The park office is located
1 1/2 miles east of Warner Bridge Rd.
- While groups of 25 or
more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required
to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling
- At least one responsible
adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
- Pets must be kept on
leashes at all times.
- Actions by nature can
result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park
office before you make your trip.
- We hope you enjoy your
stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
- For more information
on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community
Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
- Telecommunication Device
for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175
for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.