The Great River Road follows the Mississippi River for 3,000 memorable miles through 10 states from its beginnings at Lake Itasca in Minnesota, through Louisiana where it enters the Gulf of Mexico. As you travel this scenic route, you’ll find that it’s made up of a series of roads that are marked with signs emblazoned with a green pilot’s wheel logo, denoting that the road is part of the Great River Road. In Illinois, the byway follows the banks and bluffs through quaint river towns and urban cities as it hugs the western border of the state for more than 550 magnificent miles. Experience scenic vistas and tranquil landscapes as you explore the route. Get a taste of what’s on tap locally at Illinois wineries and breweries, farms and u-picks, historic sites, boutiques, local restaurants, and state parks. Start making your plans today. You’ve come to the right place.
Located in museums, state parks, and historic sites, the nine official Great River Road Interpretive Centers along the byway offer information on local points of interest and provide helpful byway travel information. Explore what each site has to offer, from historic forts to river ecology and famous explorers to historic architecture, and let these destinations help navigate your path along the byway.