Kayak Tour - Half Day Des Plaines River

Description: Launching from Vernon Hills, the urban environment disappears as we follow the Des Plaines River through the forest preserves of Lake County. This section of the Des Plaines River remains in its natural state and is home to ducks, geese, great blue herons, migrating waterfowl, many land based bird species, as well as beaver, deer, and the protected river otter. The shoreline is home to many river plant and tree species and in places the efforts of man to tame the river are evident. We will travel through and past many significant forest preserve sites including the historic Ryerson cabin before entering the urban environment again when we cross into Cook County and approach our take out point.This trip is rated at an Advanced Beginner level as the river has several bends that require maneuvering and, depending on water levels, may require a portage.

Skills you'll learn:

Basic kayak skill, paddling safety, natural area exploration

Check out the gear list.

Required Legal Form:
This course requires the participant to read and sign a liability release form before participating. Please see "Required Legal Form" for the session you are registering for. You will need to print, sign and bring the form to your class.

Kayak Tour - Half Day Des Plaines River Information

Outdoor School Cancellation Policy



  • Class Details
  • Gear List

Kayak Tour - Half Day Des Plaines River Gear List

Gear to bring to class:


  • Lip Balm/Protection
  • Lunch & Snacks
  • Sun Protection - Lip balm, sunscreen, wide-brim hats, etc.
  • Hat/ Sun protection - An item to help protect your face and neck from sunburn.
  • Water Shoes/Sandals - Foot attire that will protect your feet and is okay to get wet. (e.g. Teva, Chaco, Keen (not flip-flops)
  • 2 Liters of Water - At least 2 Nalgene sized water bottles or a large Camelback style reservoir
  • Sunglasses


  • Eyewear Retainer - A strap to help keep your glasses or sunglasses from falling off in the event of big splash or a capsize.
  • Personal Camera

Gear provided by REI:

  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
  • Spray Skirt
  • Touring/Recreational Kayak
  • Group First Aid Kit
  • Paddle