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Chicago, IL: Indiana LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area

Geese, mallard–and occasional Chicagoland escapees–frequent the LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area where this 5.2-mile loop hints at the history of the world’s largest marsh.

Rating

This counterclockwise loop tours the levees and service roads of Indiana’s LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area for an easy hike through part of the Kankakee Marsh, once the world’s largest wetland. Beginning at parking area 3A, head west for 1 mile atop a 15-foot levee. Water levels fluctuate in the ponds and the waterfowl areas lining the levee  and may be flooded (or crowded with cattails) depending on the season and desired hunting conditions. Heading south the trail enters DNR-controlled farmland where croplands rotate between sunflower, sorghum, and other species that feed and attract wildlife. Continue east before skirting the Beaver Lake Ditch where mature hardwoods mingle with open savanna. Squeezing between the Snag Bayou on the right and the Black Oak Bayou on the left, the trail tops the levee again before it hits the Kankakee River and turns west for the final mile back to the parking area. Call (219) 992-3019 or stop at the area’s headquarters before your hike to check for seasonal closures, common between October and February. -Mapped by Ted Villaire

To Trailhead

Take I-94 S to IL 394 and turn left to merge with US 30 E. Turn south onto US 41 for 24.1 miles before turning right onto IL 10. Drive 2.4 miles and turn right following signs for parking area 3A. The trailhead is 1 mile ahead.

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