- At present, 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.
The Lincoln Highway, an historic byway, follows the original alignment of the Lincoln Highway, the first paved transcontinental highway in the United States and the forefather of the modern Interstate transportation system as it was originally conceived in 1913.
It is from the Great River Road that most visitors and residents understand and define their relationship with the Mississippi. It is from this road that the historic sites and cultural artifacts of the area can be accessed, from Native American mounds to the Mormon (L.D.S.) temple. The beautiful Mississippi bluffs tower over the byway as the permanent sentinals for the great river.
The Ohio River Scenic Route's arresting beauty and intriguing history are largely due to the route's close proximity to the Ohio River. Travelers enjoy visiting Cave-in-the-Rock, a huge cave that was once home to river pirates.
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.
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.
Recreation - Byways provide access to numerous cultural, historical, natural, recreational and scenic sites. Some of the most popular activities along the byways include hiking, camping, picnicking, biking, fishing, photographing scenery, viewing historic sites and of course scenic driving.
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.
Illinois' Byways travel through scenic and historic areas throughout the state.