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Deep River flows through the Calumet area of Indiana, one of the most heavily industrialized regions in the world. The river corridor is surprisingly primitive but occasionally suffers from pollution. Much of the adjacent land is in agricultural or residential use but because of the heavily vegetated banks, most of these intrusions are not visible from the river. A point of interest is the old mill dam located just south of the 1-80, 94 bridge.
Most of the length of the river is densely wooded for at least a 20-foot strip on both sides of the river. However, scattered homes, mowed lawns and pasture land are occasionally seen. Species seen conform to a typical bottomland environment of elm, ash and maple. Other species associated are sycamore, box elder, river birch, and willow.
Deep River is quite muddy and moves very slowly, usually less than one mile per hour. Some of the river is choked with a series of log jams making navigation difficult. Best canoeing levels occur in the spring. Summer may make water levels too low for canoeing.
An approximate 6 mile, 2-3 hour canoe trip begins at the canoe put-in located at Deep River County Park, off Old Lincoln Way (Co. Rd. 330). A designated canoe launch and parking area is available to the public on the northwest side (downstream and left) of Old Lincoln Way bridge. Lake County Park and Recreation Department presently operates a public canoe livery service in the Deep River County Park and provides public canoe launching at this site.
For the shuttle route proceed west on Co. Rd. 330 from the County Park and turn right (north) on State Route 51. Turn left (west) on 59th Avenue, cross over Deep River, turn right (north) on Arizona Avenue and continue to the access site at the Arizona Avenue bridge. The best take out is located upstream and right of the bridge.
Downstream from the Arizona Avenue bridge an 11 1/2 mile float of about 6 hours duration is available with only an occasional portage around or over a log jam and two in-channel dams to be portaged around before joining the Little Calumet River and Burns Ditch. Although Burns Ditch does not have a natural appearance, it nonetheless does make canoeing all the way to Lake Michigan a possibility.
Put in on the north bank on the east side of the Arizona Avenue bridge. Access is not good with a moderate slope, dense vegetation and about a 75-foot carry. There is limited parking for 2 or 3 cars.
This float begins with about 1/2 mile of river canoeing before entering Lake George where you should bear to the right as you enter the lake. Three parks, all accessible from the lake, are located on Lake George. Canoeing through the lake should take about one hour before you reach the dam where it will be necessary to carry your canoe about 75 feet. Exit on your right. About midway between the two U.S. 6 bridges crossing the stream there is a small riverside park. Sanitary facilities and picnic tables make this an excellent "halfway" stop for lunch. The next major portage is at the old mill dam previously mentioned, where you will find fairly dense vegetation as you exit the stream on your left and carry your canoe about 50 feet. A short distance downstream, the West Fork of the Little Calumet River enters from the left. The take-out is downstream on the west (left) side of the Little Calumet River along the south edge of Central Avenue.
To arrange a car shuttle from the put-in, take Arizona Avenue one mile north to 10th street, then 3/4 mile east to State Road 51, then State Road 51 northeast 1 mile through Hobart to Lake Park Avenue (also called Grand Boulevard), then north 2 1/4 miles to Central Avenue, then west 1 1/2 miles to the bridge over Deep River.
A hospital and medical assistance is available in Hobart, Indiana. There is no camping available along the river but there is camping in the area at LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area or at Indiana Dunes State Park.