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The National Road - Illinois

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Quick Facts
Designation: Illinois State Scenic Byway
Designation: National Scenic Byway
Fees: There is no fee to drive the byway.
Length, One-Way: 164 Miles (273.33 Kilometers)
Time: 6 Hours

General Information

Description -
Scenes From the National Road
The National Road Scenic Byway crosses the state of Illinois from near the Wabash River to the great Mississippi River. The rolling countryside, prairie fields, and small towns along the old trail whisper to the traveler of an earlier time. Each of the seven counties of the old trail weaves their own story. The route of the National Road is a road of history. Nineteenth-century river transportation and commerce, along with historic cemeteries, tell of the struggles of the early settlers on the western frontier. County fairs and main street storefronts speak of small towns where you can still find soda fountains, one-room schools, museums, and old hotels where travelers stopped to rest.

Places Along the Way
Small and large museums, a National Register Historic District, and National Register Historic Sites are all found along the byway. Prehistoric Native American life is evident here as well, along with giant earthwork mounds that took 300 years to build. This old trail still beckons the traveler as it did over a century and a half ago. There are lakes, streams, wildlife refugees, nature preserves, and trails where whitetail deer play. The atmosphere of old-fashioned travel is stored in the little shops and towns along the way. The western end of the byway will take travelers to Eads Bridge and the Gateway to the West.

Attractions - The National Road - Illinois is known for it's Archeology, Cultural and Historical 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.

Location -

Directions from : The Illinois National Road is now labeled as US Highway 40. It runs parallel to Interstate 70 for the majority of its length although there are sometimes spurs that take drivers through more scenic sections of the state. There are many ways to access the byway. To get to the byway, try one of these routes:

  • From Chicago: Go south on I-57 to Effingham (about a 3.5 hour drive). Take exit 162, 161, or 159 to Route 40.
    --OR-- Go south on I-55 to exit 162 (Route 40), then turn east.
  • From Indianapolis: Go west on I-74 to Champaign-Urbana, then go south on I-57 to Effingham. Take exit 162, 161, or 159 to Route 40.
  • From Terre Haute: Go west on I-70. Route 40 intersects I-70 just east of the Indiana-Illinois border.
  • From St. Louis: Travel east on I-70, exit at the second Illinois exit, and continue east.
  • From Peoria: Go south on I-155 to the I-55 interchange. Continue south on I-55 to exit 162 (Route 40), then turn east.
  • From Springfield, IL: Travel south on I-55 to exit 162, then turn east.
  • From Bloomington: Head south on I-55 to exit 162 (Route 40), then turn east.
  • From Davenport, IA: Go south and east on I-74 through Galesburg and Peoria. Once you are east of Peoria, take I-155 south to I-55, then on I-55 take exit 162 (Route 40), and then turn east.
  • From Rockford and Wisconsin: Go south on I-39 to Bloomington, then continue south on I-55. Take exit 162 (Route 40), then turn east.
  • From Cairo, IL: Head north on I-57 to Effingham, then take exit 159 to Fayette Avenue and Henrietta. You can travel east or west on Route 40.
  • From Paducah: Go north on I-24 to the merge with I-57. Continue north on I-57 to Effingham, then take exit 159 to Fayette Avenue and Henrietta. You can travel east or west on Route 40.
To Drive the Byway:
  • Beginning near Terre Haute, Indiana on the east side of the byway, travel westward on SR-154 to reach US Highway 40.
  • Continue on US 40 until you reach Livingston and the Livingston Spur.
  • Turn right onto Hill Top Orchard Road which is the Livingston Spur. Follow the road until it rejoins with US 40.
  • When you near Marshall and Mile Point 3.5, turn onto Old US Highway 40 which will take you through the town of Marshall.
  • At 6th street in Marshall, turn left onto 6th South to tour the short Marshall Spur. The Marshall Spur goes around the block turning left again at Locust Street and right at 5th North to rejoin the byway.
  • From Marshall, join US 40 again until Martinsville at which point, the byway follows Old US 40 once again.
  • In the community of Martinsville, turn right onto County Road 9 to follow the Lincoln Spur.
  • Take County Road 9 until you reach County Road 1500. At this road, turn right to visit Lincoln School.
  • Travel the same route to rejoin the byway.
  • Continue on Old Highway 40 until the community of Casey.
  • Take US Highway 40 past Vevay Park, into Greenup.
  • In Greenup, take East Illinois Street to view Greenup's Overhanging Porches. Take East Cumberland and follow it until it rejoins US 40.
  • Travel US 40 past Montrose and Teutopolis to Effingham.
  • At Effingham, take East Jefferson Street until it intersects with US Highway 45.
  • Turn left onto US Highway 45 and then turn right to rejoin US 40.
  • At milepost 59.5, US 40 turns to the left and out of Effingham.
  • Continue on US 40 through the city of Altamont, St. Elmo, and Brownstown to Vandalia.
  • In Vandalia, take the Vandalia Spur as it turns left onto 1st South Street. Turn left again onto West Edwards Street and then right on South 3rd to rejoin the byway.
  • Stay on US Highway 40 until Mulberry Grove and then take Old US 40 once again.
  • In Greenville, take the Greenville Spur past the Bond County Courthouse and Greenville College.
  • Take Old US 40 until Milepost 114 where the byway travels again along US 40.
  • Continue on US 40 past Stubblefield, to the community of Pocahontas.
  • In Pocahontas, take State Street to drive through the community and then travel on Old US 40 to Mile Post 123.
  • At the community of Highland, take SR 160 through the streets of the town.
  • At Mile Post 130, When SR 160 turns south, take Highland Road.
  • Continue on Highland Road until it intersects with County Road 31. Take County Road 31 into St. Jacob.
  • Continue on County Road 31 through Jacob and into Troy.
  • At Troy, cross US 40 and take SR 162 through town.
  • At Mile Post 142 in Troy, turn left onto Collinsville Road.
  • When Collinsville intersects Formosa Road, turn left and cross US 40 again. Turn right onto Troy Road. Troy Road parallels I-55.
  • At Mile Post 146.3, turn onto Vandalia Street and then at Mile Post 146.7, turn onto SR 159.
  • Follow SR 159 into Collinsville.
  • At Mile Post 149.4, take West Clay Street and then turn left onto Combs Street, then left onto Main Street.
  • At Mile Post 150.2, take Saint Louis Road.
  • When St. Louis Road merges with Collinsville Road, continue on Collinsville road as it crosses I-255 and travels through East St. Louis.
  • The byway ends in East St. Louis at Eads Bridge.

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More Information

Contact Information:
The National Road - Illinois , , , , Phone: 618-345-4999

Cahokia Mounds , , , , Phone: 618-346-5160
, cahokiamounds@ezl.com

Additional Information:
Illinois Scenic Byways - Illinois has five National Scenic Byways: The Lincoln Highway, Illinois' Great River Road, The Ohio River Scenic Route, Illinois' National Road, and the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route.
Western Illinois Travel Region -

Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.


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