Waukegan River

Last updated
Waukegan River
Physical characteristics
Main source Waukegan, Illinois
623 ft (190 m)
42°20′55″N87°50′35″W / 42.3486111°N 87.8430556°W / 42.3486111; -87.8430556 (Waukegan River origin)
River mouth Confluence with Lake Michigan, Waukegan, Illinois
577 ft (176 m)
42°21′20″N87°49′32″W / 42.3555556°N 87.8255556°W / 42.3555556; -87.8255556 (Waukegan River mouth) Coordinates: 42°21′20″N87°49′32″W / 42.3555556°N 87.8255556°W / 42.3555556; -87.8255556 (Waukegan River mouth)
Length 3 mi (4.8 km)
Basin features
Progression Waukegan River → Lake Michigan → Great Lakes → Saint Lawrence SeawayGulf of Saint Lawrence
GNIS ID 420651
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap  ·  Google Maps
Download coordinates as: KML  ·  GPX

The Waukegan River, a small river in Lake County, Illinois, is a member of the very small class of Illinois rivers that flow into Lake Michigan. It drains part of the city of Waukegan, Illinois, including the suburban city's historic downtown area. The river's drainage area comprises 7,785.63 acres. The drainage is managed by the city of Waukegan. [1] [2] [3]

Lake County, Illinois County in the United States

Lake County is a county situated in the northeastern corner of the U.S. state of Illinois along the shores of Lake Michigan. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 703,462, making it the third-most populous county in Illinois. Its county seat is Waukegan, the ninth-largest city in Illinois. Lake County is one of the collar counties of the Chicago metropolitan area.

Lake Michigan One of the Great Lakes of North America

Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. The other four Great Lakes are shared by the U.S. and Canada. It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third-largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron. To the east, its basin is conjoined with that of Lake Huron through the wide Straits of Mackinac, giving it the same surface elevation as its easterly counterpart; the two are technically a single lake.

Waukegan, Illinois City in Illinois

Waukegan is the largest city in and the county seat of Lake County, Illinois, United States, a part of the Chicago metropolitan area. The city is located 35 miles north of the Loop and 10 miles south of the Wisconsin state border, approximately halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. As of the 2013 United States Census estimate, the city has a population of 88,826, which makes it the ninth most populous city in Illinois. Waukegan is a predominately working-class community with a size-able middle-class population.

Geological features associated with the end of the Wisconsin glaciation ensured that most of that portion of Illinois that drains into the St. Lawrence River is covered in water. Only a thin strip of land on the extreme northeastern coast of Illinois naturally drains into Lake Michigan and from thence to Canada. The Waukegan River, a river of less than three miles in length, drains part of this ribbon-like strip. Only a short distance away, the western neighborhoods of Waukegan drain into the Des Plaines River, which flows in a completely different direction. [1] [2]

Wisconsin glaciation

The Wisconsin Glacial Episode, also called the Wisconsinan glaciation, was the most recent glacial period of the North American ice sheet complex. This advance included the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, which nucleated in the northern North American Cordillera; the Innuitian ice sheet, which extended across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago; the Greenland ice sheet; and the massive Laurentide ice sheet, which covered the high latitudes of central and eastern North America. This advance was synchronous with global glaciation during the last glacial period, including the North American alpine glacier advance, known as the Pinedale glaciation. The Wisconsin glaciation extended from approximately 75,000 to 11,000 years ago, between the Sangamonian Stage and the current interglacial, the Holocene. The maximum ice extent occurred approximately 25,000–21,000 years ago during the last glacial maximum, also known as the Late Wisconsin in North America.

Des Plaines River tributary of the Illinois River

The Des Plaines River is a river that flows southward for 133 miles (214 km) through southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois in the United States Midwest, eventually meeting the Kankakee River west of Channahon to form the Illinois River, a tributary of the Mississippi River.

The mouth of the river is marked by Waukegan Harbor Light.

Waukegan Harbor Light lighthouse in Illinois, United States

Waukegan Harbor Light is a lighthouse at the end of Government Pier at the foot of Madison Street in Waukegan, Illinois. It was first built in 1889 and moved when the pier was extended in the early twentieth century. At that time a fog signal building was added to the tower.

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