Take a Canoe Trip

Why Canoe with Friends? 

Why travel far when you can experience rich wildlife and urban adventure in your own backyard? From tranquil lagoons to the bustle of the city, we have paddles that appeal to all interests and a focus on protecting the wonderful resource that is the Chicago River. Learn the value and benefits of paddling. No experience necessary—our fun, knowledgeable guides will provide safety and paddling instruction plus all of the necessary equipment.

Friends' Public Canoe Trips

Friends offers trips to the public from a variety of locations along the Chicago River system. Please check our events calendar for upcoming trips.

Friends' Custom Trips

Let us organize a trip just for you. Friends is available to take your group of 10 or more out on the river. Great for all different types of organizations who wish to experience the Chicago River. Learn more about planning a trip HERE, then contact Annette Anderson at aanderson@chicagoriver.org to set up a planning call.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the mimimum age for trip participation? Can I bring my dog in the canoe? Read some frequently asked questions about our canoe trips.

Guest Testimonials

"Many thanks for the Friends of the Chicago River volunteer [canoe guides]. The volunteers were cheerful, friendly, and resourceful…[they] generally sacrificed themselves for the good of the group. They did all of this with a smile on their faces! What a great bunch of folks. Thanks!"  

"I just wanted to write to send out a huge THANK YOU everyone who made this trip a success. For many of the families who attended, this was their kids’ first trip on the Chicago River. There were no complaints of sunburn despite the trip being in the full heat of day, only happy smiles and appreciation from everyone who attended! You are the best in the business …and the ONLY ones who focus on protecting the river."

River Access

Thinking of launching your boat on the river but not sure where to go? Check out the Paddle Illinois Water Trails site for a list of public put-ins for nonmotorized watercraft. Launches for small motorized watercraft can be found at the Skokie Lagoons (trolling only), Richard J. Daley Park (small fee required), and the Little Calumet Boat Launch. Please follow all regulations when boating on the Chicago River system. 

For more Information, contact Annette Anderson at (312) 939-0490, ext. 14, or aanderson@chicagoriver.org.