Looking for outdoor fun on the Lower Des Plaines? Picture this:

•  Not far from Woodfield Mall, muskrats escort your canoe as you paddle along a clear-water stretch of Salt Creek.

•  Take a turn off the highway onto the Salt Creek Greenway and you are ages away from nearby downtown Oak Brook, riding an old Indian trail route through woods that include a Civil War era Underground Railroad stop and a pioneer cemetery.

•  Meander off the Harlem Avenue commercial strip and you enter the winding streets of Riverside, whose cathedral-like trees enable squirrels to leap from Harlem to the Des Plaines River in record time.

•  Visit the Chicago Portage Nation­al Historic Site and stand on the same ground where all the dis­coverers, explorers, and creators of Chicago once walked.

•  In the heart of the Palos Forest Preserves, you help cut back weeds in a wetland area, where sandhill cranes have returned because of restoration efforts.

•  Visit Long Run Seep Nature Pre­serve and you might get a glimpse of the Hine's emerald dragonfly, one of the most endangered dragonflies in the U.S.
Recreation Resources

Chicago Area Paddling/Fishing
Des Plaines River Water Trail
Illinois Paddling Council Guide
Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Trail Plan
Salt Creek Watershed

Canoe rentals and shuttles are available from Will-U-Canoe in Willow Springs. Call (708) 937-4945