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 and Herrick Lake. New for 2021 — paddleboats are available to rent at Blackwell. A valid government-issued ID is required for deposit, and you can pay with cash or credit card.
Due to COVID-19 and current state restrictions, the following changes to boat rental protocol are in place:
- Patrons must wear face masks that cover the nose and mouth at Forest Preserve District facilities and when interacting with District staff.
- Patrons must practice social distancing.
- Boat rentals will be restricted to designated time slots throughout the day.
- Patrons can reserve a boat for a designated time beginning at the start of each day. Boat rentals will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
- We will be operating at a reduced boat rental capacity because boats and equipment will be sanitized after each use and require time to dry.
|DuPage Resident or Nonresident
|| Per Hour
|Rowboat or single kayak
|Two-person kayak or canoe (up to 3 people)
|New for 2021! Paddleboat (Blackwell only)
Rentals end one hour before closing.
|April 3 – September 26
|Weekends, Memorial Day & Labor Day
||8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
|Weekdays (Memorial Day – Labor Day)
||10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
|May 29 – Sept. 6
|Weekends only Memorial Day – Labor Day
|| 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
|Plus Memorial Day & Labor Day
For weekday rentals, please visit Blackwell or book a private Have it at Herrick outing.
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 (65 and older), active military and veterans 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.
Stand-up paddleboarding is allowed only on Silver Lake at Blackwell with a private watercraft permit.
Purchase a daily private watercraft permit online, at Visitor Services, or at the Blackwell boat rental facility (when open). The steel lockboxes (on-site daily watercraft permit envelopes) at all four lakes will no longer be in service.
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. Senior citizens (65 and older), active military and veterans are entitled to one free annual permit per household per calendar year with proof of age (driver's license or birth certificate).