Description - Within a 25-mile expanse, the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers meet to form a 35,000-acre floodplain. This confluence is the backdrop for the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route. This route starts 30 minutes north of St. Louis, Missouri, at the Melvin Price Visitors Center at Lock and Dam #26. The river systems have been vital transportation routes as long as there has been human habitation. The Mississippi is an environmental treasure, and it is also a working river, moving commerce to world markets.
Scenes From the Great RiverThe Great Rivers Scenic Route offers a dramatic composite of the Mississippi River. Beneath white cliffs, the byway runs next to the Mississippi. It begins in an industrial, urban setting and changes to a scenic, natural area. The area is so magnificent that the Illinois Legislature called it "the most beautiful stretch of the entire Mississippi River." As though moving back through time, expanses of pastoral countryside and stone houses are reminders of a time long ago in the Lower Illinois River Valley.
Places Along the WayThe Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route crosses the Illinois River on a ferry to the Kamp Store Museum in Kampsville. This is where artifacts of the earliest aboriginal people in America reside, and the byway's rich historical and archaeological qualities unfold here. The road then travels Alton, where history converges with present developments in the engineering wonder of the Clark Bridge and the memory of the last Lincoln-Douglas debate. Little towns along the byway seem almost forgotten by time. They give travelers a look at historic architecture and small town life on along the Mississippi River.
- The Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route is known for it's Archeology, Cultural, Historical, Natural, Recreational and Scenic Attractions.
Climate - Illinois experiences four distinct seasons with varying weather throughout the year. Winter can be very cold. The highest humidity of the year occurs during this season averaging 70 to 75 percent. Average low temperatures in January dip to 20 degrees F with highs near 35 degrees F. Spring temperatures are mild with humidity below 70 percent. Temperatures during this season average between 32 and 50 degrees F. Summer is usually hot and humid in this Midwest state. Low temperatures remain in the low sixties with high temperatures near 90 degrees F. The highest rainfall of the year occurs during the summer months. Fall is an excellent time to visit the state with low humidity and rainfall and moderate temperatures.
Directions from : To Get to the Byway:
- From Chicago, IL: Take I-55 south for approx. 280 miles, then turn right on I-270 for 18 miles. Turn right onto IL 3 northbound exit and go 7 miles to IL 143. Turn left onto IL 143 and continue 2 miles to Lock & Dam #26 where the byway begins.
- From Moline, IL: Take U.S. 67 south for 85 miles. Turn right on IL 100 for 15 miles, and follow IL 100 for 6 miles. Then turn left at Detroit and follow IL 100 for 26 miles to Kampsville where the byway begins.
- From Mt. Vernon, IL: Take U.S. 64 west for 65 miles. Turn right onto I-255 and go north for 16 miles to I-270, then turn right onto the I-270 westbound ramp. Travel 4 miles to IL 3, and then turn right onto IL 3 northbound exit and go 7 miles to IL 143. Turn left onto IL 143, then go 2 miles to Lock & Dam #26 where the byway begins.
- From St. Louis, MO: Take I-270 to U.S. 67 north. Travel east on U.S. 67 for 20 miles over the Clark Bridge to Alton. After crossing the bridge, turn right and go 1 mile to IL 143. Turn right on IL 143 and travel 1 mile to the Lock & Dam, the official start of the byway.
Traveling the byway itself:
- The byway begins in Alton at Lock & Dam at the Melvin Price Visitors Center.
- Take IL-143 north out of town to the junction with IL-100.
- Follow IL-100 past Rosedale and Nutwood.
- At the junction with IL-16, follow IL-16 to Eldred Road.
- Take Eldred Road to the junction with IL-108.
- Take IL-108 to Kampsville where the byway terminates.