Kankakee River Trail


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Kankakee River Trail Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: Kankakee
Length: 10.6 miles
Trail end points: Davidson's Creek (Bourbonnais) and Rte. 102 and Byron Rd. (Wilmington)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 7981187
Trail activities: Bike, Fishing, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Kankakee River Trail Description

The Kankakee River Trail is fairly wooded and runs primarily through Kankakee River State Park. Walkers, bicyclists, and cross-country skiers can enjoy more than ten miles of trail along the north bank of the river between Bourbonnais and Wilmington in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago.

Approximately 3 miles on the east end of the trail is crushed stone, while the rest is paved. Trail-goers looking for more of a challenge will like the hill climbs on the west end of the trail.

An equestrian trail is available on the south side of the river from April through October. Beginning in late January, after a good snowfall, snowmobilers can also use the south-bank trail.

Parking and Trail Access

West-end parking is off Route 102 between Byron and S. Chicago roads. East-end parking is at Davidson's Creek in Bourbonnais. Or, you can park in Kanakakee River State Park (5314 Illinois 102, Bourbonnais), which is approximately the half-way point on the trail.

Kankakee River Trail Reviews

This trail has a little bit of everything! Our family parked at the Davis Campground trail head. There was plenty of parking, a picnic area and a restroom at that location. The first 3.6 miles of the 10.6 mile (each way) trail is crushed rock - so I would not recommend that portion for folks with road bikes. The rest of the trail is asphalt which is in good condition. The busy sections (through Kankakee River State Park) are divided with markings for left/right traffic. There are some hilly sections, but there's nothing too tough and 90% of the length of the trail is shaded by a lush tree canopy. Some of the highlights of the trail include a suspension bridge, multiple lookout spots along the river - and some really fun twisty turning sections that keep you focused and alert behind the handlebars! Our family stopped at the suspension bridge where there is walking trail access to river below. Below the bridge there are rocks to climb on to explore the clear river water and it's many fish. To make a day of it, bring lunch to enjoy at one of the many picnic/lookout areas along this beautiful and well maintained river. Just a great day of exercise, nature observing and family fun! Highly recommend.

This is a fun filled ride along the beautiful Kankakee river. The new walk or bicycle only bridge, crossing the river near Riverside Hospital is a real plus.

We went to visit my son in Wilmington and rode the Kankakee River Trail for the first time. We started at parking lot A where we rode through a beautiful forest of oaks, maples and hickories. Then we rode through the state park and over scenic bridges and stopped at scenic overlooks of the river. The trail is hilly in places but my husband and I are 67 years old and we had no difficulty pedaling up the hills. We rode to the end of the trail and back to the starting point which is about 20 miles. Even though the weather was perfect, the trail was not crowded. We will definitely be going back!


This trail is a pretty good shorter trail. I rode it in June, so views of the Kankakee River (which runs close to the trail) were limited because of the dense vegetation. But still, there are great wide-open views of the river in the State Park area, as well at as the Warner Bridge area, west of the park (the park has a great viewing platform right next to the trail that sits high above the river, great for photos). Be aware that there are some steep grades on this trail in spots. The section of the trail that I rode (from the state park westward) was completely paved and pretty smooth. There are nice brick washrooms in the State Park, right next to the trail.

This trail was great and will become one of our favorite ones to ride. Some steep hills but a rush when going down them, a couple of narrow bridges so you will have to watch out for other traffic, there are some stop where there are picnic tables and areas where you can see the Kankakee River on your ride. I highly recommend this bike trail but some areas have steep hills so small kids may have problem. The only problem we had was when coming around curve a lot of people took up the whole path so almost ran into them.

Lovely trail, but I only got to see a part of it, perhaps 3 miles.

The Kankakee River had overflowed its banks when I was there last week (7/15/2015). Eastern and western ends of the trail were inaccessible. The eastern ends had a sign warning of washouts. I did not go through to see how bad they were.

There are several places to park but the one I was most comfortable parking at was the main lot that contains the park office, concession stand, and visitor center. It's where the suspension bridge is too. We rode the trail to the northwest first and then came back and rode the trail to the southeast. From this parking lot, the northwest portion is all paved (about 6 miles). The southeast portion is mainly crushed limestone (about 4 miles). There's a lot to see including many views of the Kankakee River, the state park campground, and some bridges. This is a great place to combine bike riding with a picnic as there are plenty of picnic tables. By riding the trail in both directions, we put in 20 miles of riding this day. The concession stand was closed as well as most of the restrooms along the trail. There was a restroom open at the main parking lot.

If you like nature and riding through the woods, this trail is for you. Very scenic 10 mile ride. (One way) Trail is a mix of crushed stone and some pavement. There are several hills along the way so get ready for some pedaling. Not too bad though. Will definitely be going back for more.

This is a great well-maintained trail. We rode on a Sunday afternoon in September and we only encountered a few other bikers/walkers the entire time. There are some hills, but our 10-year old child was able to keep up with no problem. Lots of wildlife and a very peaceful ride. There is plenty of parking in Lot A off of Route 102.

This is one of the most scenic trails that I have been on. I absolutely love it. Very pretty forest scenery especially in the fall when the colors, the river and the rock outcroppings are fantastic. The Rock Creek area is a real gem. It's pretty cool to ride over the suspension bridge.

The one problem that I have with this trail is that there is not enough of it!! Why doesn't it connect to the City of Kankakee? I believe there is a path behind the Perry Farm. Why doesn't it connect to the Wauponsee Glacial Trail that goes up to Joliet? Does one have to risk one's life along the narrow and winding Route 102 to get from one trail to the other (yes)? Gain some easements from the land owners and put a path along Rt 102. This will then become a more heavily used trail.

The Kankakee trail is among my favorite in Northern Il. It is very scenic throughout its 10 miles. Because of the tree cover, this is a great trail on a hot day or even a windy day. There are also some challenging hills that provide great exercise. This is a low traffic trail with the exception of the area by Rock Creek which attracts a lot of people due the scenic views. Even within the state park itself, traffic is seldom an issue. You really get a feeling that you are away from civilization. Great trail and great scenery.

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