Hennepin Canal Trail

Hennepin, Illinois

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In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the I&M and Hennepin Canals were dug in northern Illinois to speed up transportation between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. The Hennepin Canal, which runs from the Illinois River nearly to the Mississippi, is the lesser known of the two. Long closed to barge traffic, the canal now is essentially a long, narrow pond that stretches nearly halfway across the state. While following the former towpath alongside the canal, you’ll encounter many miles of open space and agricultural land, as well as patches of woodland and prairie. Since the route runs through only one town, cultural attractions are limited, but there are old railroad bridges, thirty-two locks (many with the original mechanical hardware intact), and six aqueducts that carry the canal over streams and rivers.

Hennepin Canal Trail Professional Review and Guide

"In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the I&M and Hennepin Canals were dug in northern Illinois to speed up transportation between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. The Hennepin Canal, which runs from the Illinois River nearly to the Mississippi, is the lesser known of the two. Long closed to barge traffic, the canal now is essentially a long, narrow pond that stretches nearly halfway across the state.

While following the former towpath alongside the canal, you’ll encounter many miles of open space and agricultural land, as well as patches of woodland and prairie. Since the route runs through only one town, cultural attractions are limited, but there are old railroad bridges, thirty-two locks (many with the original mechanical hardware intact), and six aqueducts that carry the canal over streams and rivers."

Activity Type: Rail-Trails
Nearby City: Hennepin
Distance: 60.3
Surface:
Skill Level: Difficult
Season: Year-round
Local Maps: USGS Annawan, Geneseo, Green Rock, Manlius, Mineral, Princeton
Driving Directions: Directions to Hennepin Canal Trail

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May 2018