Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (1998)
- Intrinsic QualitiesHistoric
- Length33 miles
This section of the Great River Road is where the Mississippi, Illinois, and Missouri Rivers come together. Extending from Pere Marquette State Park to the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, tarces of history c an be seen along the bluffs and river towns on the byway.
Story of the Byway
This byway coincides with the Great River Road that travels along the Mississippi River. The Meeting of the Great Rivers Byways is at at the confluence of the Mississippi, Illinois, and Missouri Rivers. The area has bluffs along the river basin that lends itself to wildlife viewing, especially for bald eagles. There are over 230 species of native and migrating birds flock to the area where the three rivers meet. Lewis and Clark traveled throughout the area and it was once home to the Illini Native Americans. Immerse yourself in history and nature on this hour-long drive but allow several days to enjoy it to its fullest.
The Byway begins in Hartford at the intersection of Illinois Route 3 and New Poag Road. Winding west and north via Illinois Routes 3, 143, and 100 the route lead you through Alton and bends along the forested river bluffs to Grafton and the Pere Marquette State Park. This section coincides with the much longer Great River Road that follows the Mississippi River.
Points of Interest
Piasa Park (Alton)
Reproduction mural of a legendary man-eating dragon painted on the bluffs by the Illini Native Americans.
Pere Marquette State Park
Near Grafton, the 8,00 acres are at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. Bluffs with spectacular views of the Illinois River and its backwaters.
Lewis and Clark State Historic Site (Hartford)
Commemorates Camp River Dubois, the site of Lewis and Clark’s camp in 1803-1804.
National Great Rivers Museum
Learn more about the rivers that define the byway.
Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge
Protects migratory birds along the Mississippi Flyway.
Meeting of Three Great Rivers
Begin south of Hartford on Highway 3 and the intersection of New Poagd Rd, near the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site and the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Missouri River. This byway is also a section of the larger Great River Road that follows the entire Mississippi River. Travel on Highway 3 to Wood River where you will turn on to Highway 143 going north and stop at the Great Rivers Museum between Wood River and Alton. In Alton, check out Piasa Park with its reproduction mural of a legendary man-eating dragon that once was painted on the bluffs by Illini Native Americans.
Leaving Alton on Highway 100, go through Elsah and on to Grafton to the Pere Marquette State Park at the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Illinois River. From the cliffs, you can view the Illinois River and its backwaters. Among the year-round recreational opportunities are horseback riding, camping, fishing, hunting, and boating. The Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge is to the west of the Illinois River. The byway ends at the northwest edge of the Pere Marquette State Park. The Greater St. Louis, MO area is just across the Mississippi River if you want a variety of options for food, lodging, and night life.
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