Big Island on the Mississippi River

Big Island is an oasis of abundant wildlife and outdoor activities.  It is located at the delta of the Rock River where it empties into the Mississippi River near Milan, Illinois.  Once the biggest island on the Rock River it was suitably named Big Island.  Big Island is also defined by the historic Hennepin Canal and the Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park.

The 104.5 linear mile park steeped in history will take you on a journey from its further west end at Lock 32 and the Mississippi River on Big Island to its east end upstream from the Village of Hennepin on the Illinois River.  The park on Big Island features paved and primitive trails for biking, hiking, running or simply walking your pet or bird watching.  The canal offers abundant fishing, kayaking and canoeing. The distinctive features of the park are free and open to the public to enjoy.

Adventures on Big Island are endless.  Journeying west at the confluence of the Mississippi and Rock Rivers at the Hennepin Canal Lock 32 you can follow the Rock River Trail route approximately 320 miles to the Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin.  Or, connect to the Great River Trail from Moline to Savanna, Illinois, or to the Grand Illinois Trail that loops throughout the Sate of Illinois.  From the Grand Illinois Trail you can access the Mississippi River Trail which runs the length of the Mississippi River.  Add the American Discovery Trail to the list, too.  See the local Quad Cities Bicycle Map for the best connections or visit our website at

For your convenience, nearby Milan, Illinois is home to many locally owned specialty shops.  Go back in time to enjoy gourmet coffees and sandwiches at the old train depot, Whistle Stop Java Shop or visit Pagalo's Pizza & Gelato Cafe featuring their earthstone wood-fired pizza.  With over 35 years of experience, fishing bait and tackle needs can easily be met at E-Z Livin Sports Center.

Whether it's a 15 minute walk or the start of an epic journey we welcome you!  Whichever way you travel you can't go wrong starting your journey at Big Island. 

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Latitude: 41.473493 Longitude: -90.606151 Elevation: 563 ft

Recreational Opportunities

Hiking, Biking, Fishing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Cross Country Skiing and Bird Watching.  

Seasons Accessible

Year Round

Accessibility Notes

Parking at Lock 31 and 32.  

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets welcomed on leash


What an inviting place to go! Can't wait to kayak there!

Todd N., CA, 9/30/2016

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