Vermilion River Boat Ramp

Boating access has been constructed on the lower Vermilion River at Oglesby, a take-out point for popular rafting, canoeing and kayaking on the only whitewater stream in northern Illinois.

The facility was constructed with a $152,225 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources boat access grant program and primarily serves the whitewater riders.

The Illinois River is just a couple miles downstream and boat access via the Vermilion will be possible depending on the river height and especially in spring and early summer. The facility includes a launch for boats and rafts and parking lot with 16 spaces for cars and two for vehicles with trailers.

Several winding miles of the Vermilion from Lowell at Illinois Route 178, south of Starved Rock State Park, features the only true whitewater rapids in northern Illinois. It is considered a Class II River with one Class III Rapid — Wildcat Rapids.

The river loops so sharply that the trip from Lowell to Oglesby is 9 1/2 miles by water. At one point, on the southwest side of Matthiessen State Park, the river turns back on itself so sharply that in the spring, before the trees are fully leafed out, you can look across and see the river running in the opposite direction about 50 yards away.

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