The Vermilion River rises in east central Illinois in Kankakee County
and snakes its way in a generally northwesterly direction before emptying into the Illinois River
at La Salle
. It flows through Pontiac
in Livingston County
and Matthiesen State Park
The river contains the only section of "whitewater" in northern Illinois. The section of river that contains "Wildcat Rapids" is located between Lowell and Oglesby. This is a "Class III" rapid and attracts canoeists and kayakers.