As of MAY 1, 2020 the Hennepin Canal State Trail is now OPEN.

  • The bike path and trails are open (between Locks 30 and 32 in the Quad Cities area).
  • All parking lots are open.
  • Fishing is permitted throughout the site (no trout were stocked at the canal this year).
  • Visitor Center and park office are closed to the public, but office personnel are available to answer informational calls.
  • All shelters and playgrounds are closed.
  • All group activities and events have been cancelled.

Please visit for additional information.

On Sunday, March 15, 2020 the Illinois Department of Natural Resources closed all state parks and related sites, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Memorial Park Benches Complete

The memorial benches, engraved rock and concrete work have been completed at Hennepin Canal Lock 31.  Funds from the Julie A. Warn Hubbard trust were used for this project.

We think Julie would be pleased with this peaceful area to relax and enjoy the park, as she loved the natural habitats of Big Island.

Welcome to Big Island, Illinois

Big Island is an oasis for outdoor activities and is conveniently located within the Quad Cities

Big Island is also defined by the historic Hennepin Canal and the Hennepin Parkway. So many of the distinctive features of the island are free and open to the public to enjoy. 

Big Island 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. However it is not surrounded by water any longer. This change occurred when the slough that previously defined Big Island was filled in to make room for a highway system that now transverses the island. However, these geographical distinctions don't take away from the "island feel" of Big Island. It is indeed an oasis of abundant wildlife that is easily enjoyed by anyone who care take a short drive off the 'blue bridges' at Highway 67 and enter into a place where blue herons fish in shallow waters and water is the predominant feature.  


Being situated next to the scenic and user-friendly Hennepin Canal is one of Milan’s most valuable assets. It draws visitors to the region which brings many economic benefits. The paved and rustic trails, canal, and picnic shelter help to make this area a great place to live, work, and play! The more we can promote and increase the visibility of this backyard treasure, the more our businesses and community will benefit.

Randy Wlaskolich, BISAWPA President