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The trail on the old canal towpath is easy walking and gives access to unparalleled scenic and historic sights. Bicyclists also can take advantage of the groomed towpath to enjoy the natural and manmade wonders. The trail is marked and has wayside exhibits describing features of the canal. Due to the trail’s composition, horseback riding is not allowed.


After a minimum of 4 inches of snowfall, snowmobilers may travel the 61.5 miles of marked trail available along the canal. Call the nearest park office for snowfall and trail condition information.


Backpack carry-in is allowed at designated sites along the trail. Tent and youth group camping also is available at Channahon and Gebhard Woods. Open fires are permitted in camp stoves and fire pits provided at the sites. Permits must be obtained from the park offices prior to camping.


Channahon State Park provides shelters, tables and camp stoves, along with playgrounds, restrooms and water fountains. There are restrooms and drinking water located at the west end of William G. Stratton State Park, along the Illinois River. Gebhard Woods provides rustic beauty with five shady picnic areas which include, tables, shelters, restrooms and water fountains. Join in a baseball game on the diamond while the smaller children enjoy the playground area. Buffalo Rock State Park offers several picnic areas with ample shade, as well as a shelter house with a fireplace and restroom.


Bring your fishing gear to the canal and test your skill at catching bass, crappie, bluegill, carp, catfish and bullhead. Pond fishing also is available at Gebhard Woods. River fishing is popular at William G. Stratton State Park on the Illinois River.


Canoeists can travel 15 miles of open water in the canal between Channahon and Gebhard Woods State Parks, and 5 miles between Utica and LaSalle. Canoe access also is available at the Aux Sable Aqueduct and at Lock 14 in LaSalle.

Boating enthusiasts have easy access to the Illinois River at William G. Stratton State Park. Any one of the four boat launching ramps will provide your start to an afternoon of boating, fishing or water-skiing.

A full-size replica canal boat located in LaSalle offers cruises, with guides dressed as Canal era crew and passengers. Enjoy learning about life on the American frontier and the Illinois prairie as you take a relaxing, scenic ride on the waterway that changed the face of the nation – the historic Illinois & Michigan Canal. Cruises are operated by the “Lock 16” Visitor Center of the Canal Corridor Association located at 754 First St. in LaSalle. Information about cruises is available by calling 815-220-1848 or visiting I & M Canal State Trail. Directions: Exit Route 80 West at mile marker #77 (Rt. 351) South on Rt. 351 to First Street, Building is located at 754 First St. (southwest corner of Rt. 351 and First St.

Metal Detecting

Due to the I&M Canal being on the National Register of Historic Places and a Federal Historic Landmark, metal detecting is not permitted. That would also include the bordering complex sites, Channahon State Park, William G. Stratton State Park, Gebhard Woods State Park and Buffalo Rock State Park.