Paddling the East Branch of the Little Calumet River Starts Here!

Welcome to our resource for getting out on the East Branch of the Little Calumet River. With significant stretches in both Indiana and Illinois, the Little Calumet River has helped link cities and towns throughout the Chicago region for centuries. The East Branch of the Little Calumet River, or East Branch, offers paddlers over 11 miles of varying natural scenery with two paddling trips we’d recommend. One takes you from Chesterton through Porter and ends at the Indiana Dunes National Park, and the second route lets paddlers put in and take out near the mouth of the river at Lake Michigan for an up-and-back trip. The main access point is a marina, so practice safety and make yourself visible to boats.


Save the Dunes along with Shirley Heinze Land Trust, Northwest Indiana Paddling Association, The National Park Services, and the Northwest Indiana Urban Waters Federal Partnership have been working on restoration, conservation, and public access on the East Branch for over a decade.  Please click through the links below for more information!

Suggested Public Access Launches: managed by Shirley Heinze Land Trust

Wykes Playpen Nature Preserve

Keith Richard Walner Nature Preserve

Take Out @ Howe Road Bridge 


National Park Service on Paddling the East Branch of the Little Calumet 

The Northwest Indiana Paddling Association (NWIPA) and the National Park Service (NPS) have been putting in the people-power to clear the river of log jams! Log jams consist mostly of fallen trees and branches, and they block the river from human access and can causing long term damage to the riverbank. Working with boats, machinery, chainsaws, and of course MUSCLE, NWIPA, NPS, and partners out on the river are working towards clearing 14 miles of the river trail! Read more about getting out on the East Branch here.