Hennepin Canal Trail Home
The Hennepin Canal Trail of Illinois

Hennepin Canal Trail Frequently Asked Questions

How hilly is the trail?
See the elevation charts for a visual represntation of the trail's hills.

As you might expect for a canal, the trail does not have steep hills. But as you would also expect from a canal, there are small rolling hills and a long gradual elevation change; that's why some 30 locks were needed.
Equestrian use Can horseback riders use the Hennepin Canal Trail?
Yes, horses are allowed between April 15 through October 31.

Note that equestrian camping is only allowed at Lock 21, near Wyanet.
Are snowmobiles allowed?
Are locks still used?
No, the locks are no longer working; the gates have been replaced with concrete walls. An exception is Lock 16, which offers an example of a Marshall Gate lock. A Marshall Gate is a single gate spanning across the lock, using the principle of buoyancy.
Are pets allowed on the Hennepin Canal Trail?
Yes, but they must be on leashes shorter than 10 feet.
Is the canal good for kayaking/canoeing?
Yes, paddlers are welcome, but of course you will have to portage around any locks. However, there western part of the canal offers several nice streches in between locks, notably:
  • Between locks 22 and 23 - 9 miles
  • Between locks 23 and 24 - 10 miles
  • Between locks 24 and 25 - 5.5 miles
  • The Feeder Line - 29 miles
Paddling is not recommended west of Lock 26

Motorized boats are allowed throughout the canal with a maximum 10 HP. There are no horsepower limits between 24 and Bridge 37.
Is camping allowed along the trail?
The state offers campsites at several locations along the canal, at locks 6, 11, 17, 21, 22, 23, and 26. Only Lock 21 allows equestrian camping.

Click the following link for a list of all camping options along the Hennepin Canal.

Please observe the parks' campsite quiet hours from 10PM to 7AM.

I'd like to ride on the trail but don't have a bike. Can I rent a bike?
Currently we are not aware of any bike rental options along the canal. Please let us know if you are aware of any businesses offereing bike rental.
What should I bring on my bike ride?
For a one-day trip, here are some suggestions:
  • Plenty of water
  • Helmet
  • Sunscreen
  • Maps, and/or screen printouts from BikeHennepin.com for the towns you'll be visiting (go to the trip planner to build your customized list)
  • Cell phone
  • Bike repair tools
  • Spare inner tubes or patch kit
  • Pump or compressed air
  • Insect repellant
  • Tissues / toilet paper (be prepared!)
  • Cash, credit cards
  • More water
For a multi-day trip, you'll need more stuff - maybe a lot more, depending on how long you'll be riding and how self-sufficient you plan to be (not to mention the fact that you'll need a trailer or panniers to hold everything).
How do I get my business listed on BikeHennepin.com?
If your business is on or near the Hennepin Canal, and of interest to trail users, then BikeHennepin wants to list you.  Please visit the Contact Us page for a list of the info we need, and what address to send it to.  There are no fees whatsoever to be listed here.

I spotted an error on the site.  How can I report it?
We appreciate your help in keeping the site 100% accurate (so do future visitors to the site!).  Please contact BikeHennepin.com with details of the error, and we'll fix it ASAP.