Explore Kane County! — Northern Kane Is Perfect For Paddling, Biking And Hiking

Explore Kane County! — Northern Kane Is Perfect For Paddling, Biking And Hiking

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a five-part series on Kane County outdoor recreational opportunities you can enjoy right now during Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. Today’s Part 3 is co-written by Karen Miller and Chris Toth of the Kane County Development And Community Services Department, Preservation Planner Julia Thavong and Ryan Peterson, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the Kane County Department of Transportation.

Northern Kane County offers many opportunities to enjoy the wide variety of natural resources whether by paddling, biking or hiking. This article provides just a taste of the activities and amenities available in this part of the county.

If hiking or biking is your pleasure, check out the Kane Kendall Council of Mayors Bike & Pedestrian app!

Start on The Fox River Trail

Begin your journey on the Fox River Trail on the east side of the Fox River at the Longmeadow Parkway. As you enter the village of Carpentersville from the north, you will encounter the Fox River Shores Forest Preserve along the banks of the Fox River.

This Forest Preserve District of Kane County facility, along a beautiful stretch of the Fox River was an instant success when it opened in 1988.

The view across the river of Brunner Family Forest Preserve along with the one-mile long waterfront is a major attraction of this site as well as natural interests on the hillsides that are lined with springs and seeps forming “hanging fens.”

Rare plants such as Vanilla Grass, Twayblade Orchid and Turtle Head are common in these fens.


Continuing south down the trail, visitors will next be greeted by the beautifully restored brick buildings of Otto Engineering. This part of Carpentersville, known as Old Town, and the brick buildings were built for the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company owned by one of Carpentersville founders, Julius Carpenter.

The buildings’ rehabilitation and adaptive re-use were undertaken as a project by Otto Engineering’s president and now house all of the company’s operations.

East Dundee And West Dundee

Traveling further south, the next municipality is East Dundee, one of the most bike-friendly downtowns in Kane County.

Lined with shops, restaurants and bars, this stretch of the trail is perfect for those wanting to sip on a cold drink or enjoy some tasty treats.

Continuing south down the trail, before reaching the city of Elgin, the Voyageur Landing Forest Preserve, a former fishing camp and quarry, has been naturally restored and includes multipurpose trails and picnic areas.

By all means, extend your hiking or biking journey further north or south!

If paddling is your joy, this adventure is meant for all paddling abilities, but please follow the Safety info for Paddlers on the Fabulous Fox! Water Trail website after printing out the map for Segment #8.

Access the Fox River on the east side at McNamee Park (river mile 76.7), south of Main Street on Water Street in Carpentersville. Paddling upstream a bit you can see the beautifully restored brick buildings mentioned above.

Just north (upstream) is the iron railway bridge that served the Carpentersville manufacturing industry. As you make your way south down the river, you can see multiple buildings from Carpentersville’s manufacturing boom.

Your next stop should be to Dundee for their National Register Historic District that encompasses the river and East and West Dundee’s downtowns.

McNamee Park offers beautiful amenities. (CREDIT: Karen Miller)

Many of the buildings on Main Street have been rehabilitated and feature great places to eat. Exit the River on the west side at South End Park (river mile 75.2) and walk north for lunch and/or ice cream in one of the Dundees.

After lunch, continue your paddle south to Trout Park access (river mile 73.3). The segment of the Fox River from Dundee to the Kimball Street Dam in Elgin is on the Nationwide Rivers Inventory.

The NRI is a listing of more than 3,200 free-flowing river segments in the United States that are believed to possess one or more “outstandingly remarkable” natural or cultural values judged to be at least regionally significant. Along this segment of the river is the Fox River Fen Nature Preserve and Trout Park, both including rare and beautiful plant communities.

More-experienced paddlers who feel comfortable portaging, can extend their trip north of the Carpentersville Dam and south of the Kimball Street Dam.

Trout Park offers a wonderful boat landing area. (PHOTO CREDIT: Carl Missele)

More Places To See, Things To Do

After reading about all of the places to see and things to do in Northern Kane, are you still looking for more? Visit the Elgin Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website where you can find more things to do, places to stay, and special deals and discounts!

The Why Kane website will link you directly to the chambers of commerce of Northern Kane for the latest restaurant and shopping opportunities nearby. Always remember to shop local!

  • COMING NEXT WEEK: Check back for suggested adventures in the central part of Kane County!

A Note From The Kane County Development and Community Services Department

The Kane County Development and Community Services Department is encouraging residents to get outside and also to support local businesses during all phases of the Restore Illinois Plan.

Visit the Why Kane website for links to Community Development Connections — economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, utilities and businesses committed to helping present and future citizens of Kane County grow and prosper.

Read The Series!

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