You can be an Explorer
at Chicago Portage Days!

Take the Portage Trail...
What will you discover?

Join a Party of Explorers. Get your orders from Jean Talon the Intendent of New France and set off on the Portage Trail. Follow your guide and meet the first Chicagoan's. Along the way you'll run into the French explorers Joliet, Marquette and LaSalle. Further down the trail you'll meet the French trader Jean Baptiste Point du Sable at his work portaging traveller's goods over the Chicago Portage.

Have a cup of tea with Mrs Laughton and her guest Juliet Kinzie (daughter in law of John Kinzie) at the Laughton Tavern on the banks of the Des Plaines River. You'll find "The Swiftwalker" Gurdon Hubbard walking the route of the I&M Canal as he explains the hardships of crossing the Chicago Portage in its natural state.

At the end of the Portage Trail you may know a bit more about Chicago's early history but you will never forget meeting the extraordinary people who discovered, explored, settled here and began one of the world's greatest cities in a marsh next to an ancient canoe portage.

Friday, October 10, 2014 9am - 1pm
Ottawa Trail Woods, 7200 W 47th St , Lyons, IL
School groups only. Teachers click here to register.

Saturday, October 11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Ottawa Trail Woods, 7200 W 47th St , Lyons, IL

Exploration parties of up to 30 explorers will begin every 15 minutes. Last party leaves at 3pm.

No pre-registration. You must arrive at least 30 minutes before you begin the tour in order to register, pay the admission fee and have time to view the pre-Trail displays.


Friends HOME


Chicago Portage Days will be open to the general public on Saturday, October 11th. The first Exploration Party will begin at 9am. The last Party will begin at 3pm.

Admission is by cash only.
$7 for adults 18 - 62
$3 for children, students and seniors

(Not recommended for children under the age of six or people unable to walk up to a mile on uneven paths.)

Chicago Portage Days will be presented at the Chicago Portage National Historic Site in Ottawa Trail Woods, 7200 W 47th St , Lyons, IL.
Enter Ottawa Trail Woods on the west side of Harlem, just north of 47th Street.
Click here to see a map.

Chicago Portage Days presentations are designed to complement modules in "Swamp to City", our educational curricula on the early history of Chicago. Chicago Portage Days is primarily an educational event that will be open for school groups on Friday, October 10th. Teachers click here to register.

Chicago Portage Days is produced by Friends of the Chicago Portage in partnership with Friends of the Forest Preserves and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County with generous funding from Philip Dowd, and with an initial gift from Kendra Massey in memorial to fellow Friends of the Chicago Portage member Gertrude Novak.