Illinois & Michigan (I&M) Canal
This canal provided the first complete water route from the east coast to the Gulf of Mexico by connecting Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River by way of the Illinois River. It begins at the south branch of the Chicago River at Bridgeport and extends 96 miles to the Illinois river at LaSalle. It was originally 60 feet wide and 6 feet deep. 15 locks were built along the canal to accommodate differences in elevation.The canal was closed to navigation in 1933. It has since been redeveloped for recreation with numerous state parks and historical sites along its banks.Visitors can follow the I&M Canal State Trail beginning at Rockdale along the old towpath to LaSalle and experience 61.5 miles of scenic views of the canal and the Des Plaines and Illinois rivers.