Boating & Private Watercraft
Whether you rent one of our boats or bring your own private watercraft, you can enjoy several DuPage forest preserves from the water.
Rent canoes, kayaks and rowboats at Blackwell weekends through the end of September and daily Memorial Day through Labor Day.
You can also rent watercraft weekends at Herrick Lake Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Rentals end one hour before closing.
Blackwell and Herrick Lake (cash or credit)
A valid driver's license required for deposit. Fees include life jackets and paddles.
|DuPage Resident or Nonresident
|Rowboat or single kayak
|Canoe or tandem kayak
|Rowboat with trolling motor (at Blackwell only)
|April – September
|Weekends, Memorial Day, July 4 & Labor Day
||8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
|Weekdays (Memorial Day – Labor Day)
||11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Bring Your Own Watercraft
Private Watercraft on Lakes
With a Forest Preserve District permit you can use select watercraft on four lakes — Silver Lake at Blackwell (boat ramp), Round Meadow Lake at Hidden Lake (carry-in only), Mallard Lake at Mallard Lake (carry-in only) and Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch (carry-in only). You need either an annual permit affixed to the bow above the waterline or a receipt for a daily permit. Senior citizens are entitled to one free annual permit per household per calendar year.
Your watercraft must be under 20 feet long and have a valid hull identification number. You can’t use gas motors but can use electric ones, but a boat with any kind of motor must have state registration. Inflatable watercraft must have multiple air chambers and either 1) certification by the National Marine Manufacturers Association or the Coast Guard through the manufacturer or 2) factory-made hardened floors. Float tubes and floating devices without foot wells or railings are not allowed.
You also need to have a properly fitting, wearable, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device for each person on board. Boaters under 13 must wear them at all times, and all boaters regardless of age must wear them in canoes, kayaks, sailboats and inflatable watercraft.
You can only paddleboard on Silver Lake at Blackwell and only during the paddleboarding season, which is June 1 – Oct. 31. Only stand-up paddleboarding is allowed.
You can purchase an annual private watercraft permit online or through Visitor Services at 630-933-7248. You can also purchase an annual permit at Blackwell when it's open and daily permits (cash only) at steel lockboxes at all four lakes.
Private Watercraft on Rivers
If you're boating on either branch of the DuPage River or on Salt Creek, you don't need a Forest Preserve District permit but you do need to follow all state regulations.
You can enter at any practical forest preserve location except at The Preserve at Oak Meadows, but there's easy access to the West Branch DuPage River at Blackwell, Warrenville Grove and McDowell Grove and to Salt Creek at Salt Creek Park, Cricket Creek, Salt Creek Greenway at Hunter Road (take-out only) and Fullersburg Woods near the Graue Mill parking lot.
Permits & Fees
Boaters can purchase daily and annual permits online 24/7. For other options, download our private watercraft permit application (PDF) or call Visitor Services at 630-933-7248. You can also purchase an annual permit at Blackwell when it's open and daily permits (cash only) at steel lockboxes at all four lakes identified above. Senior citizens 65 or older are entitled to one free annual permit per household per calendar year with proof of age (driver's license or birth certificate).