On 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.
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 Rt. 102 on the north and Illinois Rt. 113 on the south frame the park, with I-55 and I-57 both providing convenient access.
Fishing the Kankakee River is great for landing smallmouth bass, channel catfish, walleye and Northern pike. Rock Creek also is a good angling spot. The park has boat ramps at the Warner Bridge Day Use Area and the Area 9 parking lot on the south side of the river.
Seasonal hunting programs include archery deer, waterfowl, and upland game hunting.
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.
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. There are 98 sites are offered at Chippewa Campgrounds -- sites are Class BE (electricity only, no showers) and Class C (no electricity, no showers).
Potawatomi Campground, classified as Class A (showers and electricity), has 110 sites and two Rent-a-Cabins in a wooded setting, is closed for the 2018 season for an improvement project;
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.
Metal Detecting at Kankakee River State Park is by Permit Only. You can obtain a permit by visiting the Kankakee River State Park Office during normal hours of operation: Monday - Friday, 8:00am to 3:30pm.
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. All shelters have campgrills.
The park's trail system stretches for miles along both sides of the Kankakee 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. In mid-January when hunting season ends 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.
Cross Country Skiing