Top Fall Drives Along Great River Road
Whether you're biking, hiking or driving along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, the fall colors are simply breathtaking. Autumn color cruising along the byway, over river ferries and among the rolling hills of the countryside has become a favorite pastime for repeat visitors to the region.
1) MEETING OF THE GREAT RIVERS SCENIC ROUTE
It’s the road most traveled, about 60 miles roundtrip, heading west on the Great River Road from Alton to Elsah, Grafton and Pere Marquette State Park and back. The average weekend warrior takes this drive because it is the easiest run to remember, but it has the heaviest traffic on Autumn Saturdays and Sundays.
2 – US 67 COUNTRY LOOP
We consider this to be the best country day drive in the state of Illinois. Enter anywhere along this loop, but remember: drive counter clockwise and see the Scenic Byway by driving downriver – the view of the bluffs is the absolute best. Take Rte. 67 north through Alton to Godfrey. Go northbound on Rte. 67 to Jerseyville.
FULL DAY ROUTE: (About 100 mile loop) At Jerseyville, turn west at Rte. 16. Cross Jersey County to intersection of Rte. 16 and Rte. 100. Turn north and take the blacktop road into Eldred. Go west on Rte. 108, and take the Free Ferry into Kampsville. Head south on Rte. 100 (Great River Road) and back down into Calhoun County. Continue southward over the Hardin Bridge and back to the intersection of Rte. 16 and 100; take Rte. 100 southbound. This parallels the Illinois River and takes drivers directly to Pere Marquette State Park. Continue southbound on Rte. 100, but it will bear eastbound as the Great River Road turns to head back down to Grafton, Elsah and Alton.
HALF-DAY ROUTE: (About 70 mile loop) At Jerseyville, turn west at Rte. 16. Cross Jersey County; turn southbound on Rte. 100. Drive down the Illinois River Road directly to Pere Marquette State Park. Continue southbound on Rte. 100, and it will bear eastbound as the byway turns to head back down to Grafton, Elsah and Alton.
3) CALHOUN COUNTY VISTAS & FERRIES LOOP
Rolling hills, winding roads, orchards and riverboat ferries create the perfect scenery for a peaceful drive through Calhoun County.
Once in Calhoun County, continue on the Illinois River Road for 22 miles, through the quaint village of Brussels, then on to Hardin and across the Hardin Joe Paige Lift Bridge. After crossing the bridge, continue along Rte. 100/16. Continue on the loop by turning left and heading north on Eldred Road. In Eldred, turn left onto Rte. 108, and cross the Illinois River via the Kampsville (free) Ferry into Kampsville.
In Kampsville, turn left on Rte. 100 and continue south back to Hardin and across the Joe Paige Lift Bridge. Once across the bridge, continue south on Rte. 100 to Pere Marquette State Park and back toward Grafton. If you began the loop at the Golden Eagle Ferry, simply cross the Brussels Ferry back into Calhoun County to access the ferry and return to Missouri.