There is a place located in the heart of America, sometimes referred to as THE heart of America. It represents four centuries of history and heritage, a compilation of thousands of stories that paints the picture of America's evolution. Its 550-mile route on Illinois'  western border offers breathtaking views and majestic landscapes that inspire and sooth the soul. Nature has been kind to the banks and bluffs, attracting thousands of species that travel thousands of miles for a visit or to make themselves a home. Originally discovered by Native American Indians, the rich fertile soil and waterways are ideal partners for agriculture and farming, a region that feeds the world today. This is your destination for a weekend trip or an extended journey that allows you to explore, play, shop, or simply unwind. Welcome to the Great River Road in Illinois National Scenic Byway.

See you down the road!

What is a National Scenic Byway?

 A National Scenic Byway is a road recognized by the United States Department of Transportation for its archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and/or scenic qualities. The program was established by Congress in 1991 to preserve and protect the nation's scenic but often less-traveled roads and promote tourism and economic development. The program is administered by the Federal Highway Administration.

 The most scenic of the roads in the program are designated All-American Roads. The designation means they have features that do not exist elsewhere in the United States and are scenic enough to be tourist destinations unto themselves. As of September 2005, there are 99 National Scenic Byways and 27 All-American Roads, located in 44 states (all except Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Texas)



International Information

Overview Map and Driving Directions

Driving directions to places along the Great River Road in Illinois. Enjoy Illinois mile after magnificent mile.


Learn About the Great River Road

Download a Great River Road brochure or view a video about the Great River Road in Illinois



Winding roads, rolling hills, green canyons, peaceful palisades and scenic bluffs make the Great River Road in Illinois National Scenic Byway one of sightseers' favorite destinations and perfect places for scenic weekend drives.