Easy Riding on the Great River Road
Get your engines running at full throttle and set off for an unforgettable fall getaway. From Alton to Grafton, Illinois, along Illinois Route 100, the smooth black asphalt is beckoning you to bend and sway in unison with the flowing waters of the Mississippi River.
As soon as you pull into Alton, Fast Eddie’s Bon Air is calling your name with a reserved parking spot for your bike at this off-the-road dive. Built in the 1920s by Anheuser-Busch, this legendary local hangout was featured on an episode of Food Network celebrity Alton Brown’s Feasting on Asphalt. Cheap eats, ice cold beer and live music make this a must-stop as your start your fall journey.
Once you’re fueled up, it’s time to hit the road along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. It’s just you and the open road as the fall colors begin to dance across the trees blanketing the Mississippi River bluffs towering at your side.
Just 13 miles from Alton, pull off in the city of Grafton. Located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, Grafton is a real river town located right on the river. The Loading Dock in Grafton is the perfect stop during the fourth weekend of the month from April through October when they host the Grafton Riverside Flea Market. In late fall, The Loading Dock is host to a motorcycle swap meet. Motorcyles are welcome everyday with great food, riverside dining, motorcycle parking and live music on the weekends.
With a name like The Hawg Pit, motorcyclist are always welcome at this barbeque establishment in Grafton. Located at the confluence, ride right up to the front door for smokin’ hot award-winning barbeque, flame-grilled burgers and live music every weekend.
As you enjoy the ride along the byway, there are a few detours that are definitely worth making. In Alton, set aside a few moments to measure up to the life-size statue of Robert Wadlow, the World’s Tallest Man. The legendary Piasa Bird looms high upon the bluffs along the byway just outside of Downtown Alton. Peeking out from the roadway, the Village of Elsah was the first village in its entirety to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Finally, the winding road through the bluffs at Pere Marquette State Park yield breathtaking views of the Illinois River Valley.
Plan Your Trip
The open roads are calling you every season of the year, but the ride is unbelievable in the fall! Start planning your trip by downloading a free Visitor Guide or request a copy to be mailed to your home.
Fast Eddie’s Bon Air
1530 E. 4th St., Alton • (618) 462-5532
The Hawg Pit BBQ Barn
821 W. Main St., Grafton • (618) 786-7675
The Loading Dock
400 Front St., Grafton • (618) 786-3494
Pere Marquette State Park
13112 Visitor Center Ln., Grafton • (618) 786-3323
IL Rte. 100, Grafton • (800) 258-6645
Where to Stay
800 Timber Ridge, Grafton • (618) 786-8439
11 Crossroads Ct., Alton • (618) 465-9999
The Ruebel Hotel
217 E. Main St., Grafton • (618) 786-2315