UPDATE: As of May 1st, the following areas are OPEN:
- Fishing is permitted throughout the site (No trout were stocked at the canal this year).
- Hiking trails are open, except between Lock 3 and Lock 7 due to a washout and from Bridge 62 to Bridge 63 for a levee failure.
- Horse trails open (weather pending).
- All parking lots are open.
- 5 portable handwashing sinks located at Lock 3, Lock 21, Visitor Center parking lot, Lock 24, and Bridge 45 (Rt 40 crossing on the feeder canal).
- All pit toilets are open.
The following areas are CLOSED:
- Visitor Center and park office are closed to the public, but office personnel are available to answer informational calls.
- All campgrounds will be closed to camping but will be open for walking or biking.
- Lock 21 Equestrian Campground is closed for camping.
- All shelters and playgrounds are closed.
- All group activities and events have been cancelled.
- No turkey hunting.
- TRAIL CLOSED from Lock 3 (Bureau Junction) to Bridge 4 (2050 E Rd) just east of Tiskilwa, due to a levee break at Lock 7****
The Hennepin Canal State Trail is an ideal destination for a relaxing day of picnicking, hiking, biking, fishing and old fashioned family fun. There are plenty of picnic tables along the 104.5-mile linear park spanning five Illinois counties (Rock Island, Bureau, Henry, Lee and Whiteside).
Constructed from 1892 to 1907, the Hennepin Canal played an important role in U.S. history and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hennepin was the first American canal built of concrete without stone cut facings. Although the Hennepin enjoyed limited success as a commercial and industrial waterway, its construction involved a number of engineering innovations, and its waterway, locks, aqueducts and adjoining towpath continue to provide a beautiful recreational resource.
The towpath provides 155 miles of hiking/biking fun from the Illinois River to the Rock River, with the feeder canal path to Rock Falls. Segments of the trails are open to horseback riding and snowmobiling in season. Fishing along the Hennepin is outstanding, and the canal is open to boating and canoeing (locks are no longer operational and must be portaged). Campgrounds and day use areas are located all along the canal.
Before exploring the wonders of the Hennepin Canal, stop in at the Visitor Center near Sheffield. Several displays help illustrate the canal's past, including tools used to build and operate it, as well as the natural features of the canal corridor.