Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Illinois & Michigan Canal to Iroquois Bicycling

Welcome to Northeast Central Illinois

District 3 covers a region from Pontiac north to DeKalb-Sycamore and from the Illinois River east to the Indiana border. Counties covered are Bureau, DeKalb, Grundy, Ford, Iroquois, Kankakee Kendall, LaSalle, Livingston, and portions of adjacent counties. We hope you will find the county maps above helpful in planning your bicycle trip in this region. And while you are cycling, we invite you to stop and take in many of the scenic and historic wonders of this region.

Enjoy your trip in our beautiful state!

The I & M Canal

The Illinois and Michigan Canal (I & M) was built as a waterway connection between Chicago and the Illinois River. Construction started in 1836 and continued for 12 years until 1848. The canal stretched for over 100 miles. During the first years of operation, the canal was important in helping open up commerce to the then wilderness area of northern Illinois and spurring the growth of Chicago; however, not long after the canal opened railroads soon took the place of the canal for moving goods and people. But the canal still lives on as an outdoor museum of the history of commerce, transportation, and the lives of Illinois' early pioneers.

To help preserve this legacy, local groups worked with the National park Service to form the nation's first National Heritage Center: the I & M Canal. The corridor stretches from downtown Chicago to Peru, with southeastern branch preserving the Calumet Sag Channel. Many important structures are preserved, with many more funded for repairs and rehabilitation, primarily through transportation enhancement funds administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.