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Vermilion River (Illinois River tributary) facts for kids

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Vermilion River
Physical characteristics
Main source Confluence of the North Fork and South Fork, Avoca Township, Livingston County, Illinois
River mouth Confluence with the Illinois River, Oglesby, Illinois
449 ft (137 m)
Length 75 mi (121 km)
  • Average rate:
    1,078 cu/ft. per sec.
Basin features
Progression Vermilion River → IllinoisMississippiGulf of Mexico
GNIS ID 424127

The Vermilion River is a 74.8-mile-long (120.4 km) tributary of the Illinois River in the state of Illinois, United States. The river flows north, in contrast to a second Vermilion River in Illinois, which flows south to the Wabash River. The Illinois and Wabash rivers each have a tributary named the Little Vermilion River as well.

The north-flowing Vermilion River and the south-flowing Middle Fork Vermilion River run on what is close to a straight line between Oglesby and Danville. In presettlement times, the two rivers drained an upland marsh near Roberts. It is possible that early settlers regarded these as a single river that flowed in two directions. It is also possible that, in early settlement times, these rivers formed a canoe route between the Illinois River and Wabash River, with a portage through the marshes near Roberts. This may explain why the two rivers have the same name.

The north-flowing Vermilion flows in a northerly direction from its origin in Livingston and Ford counties in north central Illinois, eventually emptying into the Illinois River, near Oglesby. Perhaps it is best known for its stretch of whitewater between Lowell and Oglesby, Illinois, which is one of few found in Illinois.

Cities and towns

The following cities and towns are drained by the Vermilion:


The following counties are drained at least in part by the Vermilion River:

Vermilion River in Pontiac, IL
Vermilion River in Pontiac, Livingston County, IL

Parks and access points

Play Park, Pontiac

Humiston Woods

Township park

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