Chicago, IL: Kankakee Nature Trail

Explore wooded bluffs and a dramatic limestone canyon on the way to a waterfall on this 4.8-mile riverside hike in Kankakee River State Park.

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Mapped by Ted Villaire


Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.8



Location: 41.2084122, -87.9955139

Look for openings in the shrubs that reveal small islands on the river.


Location: 41.2090225, -88.0137558

Walk east along paved hiking and biking trail.


Location: 41.2058525, -87.9844055

Leave the trail and cross a narrow grassy strip, heading towards the road. Next, cross IL 102 and begin hiking on Rock Creek Trail


Location: 41.2055893, -87.9852982

Cross the suspension footbridge spanning Rock Creek. Enjoy great views of this dolomite rock canyon (the stone walls become even more pronounced upstream). In 200 feet, the trail swings to the north. Look to the right to find the park concession area and an old, hilltop cemetery with graves of those who perished from yellow fever more than 100 years ago.


Location: 41.2062492, -87.9842682

Pick up the wide asphalt trail as it runs along the rim of Rock Creek canyon. Look into the canyon for a 30-foot rock pedestal


Location: 41.2100792, -88.0066223

Continue hiking east along a wooded bluff that rises 50 feet above the river’s edge. Note: Fencing has been erected in spots along the trail to protect hikers from the precipitously steep drop down to the river.


Location: 41.2080307, -87.9836426

Dozens of openings between oak trees reveal dramatic canyon views. Caution: There are no guardrails on these 50- to 70-foot cliffs.


Location: 41.211731, -87.9845047

Continue straight past multiple 3-way junctions (horse trails enter on the right).


Location: 41.2094536, -88.0119019

Pass under Warner Bridge Road and climb a short but steep 50-foot hill.


Location: 41.2149658, -87.9868164

Enjoy views of the 8-foot waterfall. Retrace your steps back to Waypoint 1 and the parking area.

Kankakee River

Location: 41.2083206, -87.9946442

© Ted Villaire


Location: 41.214817, -87.9865494

© Ted Villaire

Rock Creek Canyon

Location: 41.2056694, -87.9851761

© Ted Villaire