The Great River Road - Our Regions


Rivers, bluffs, dense forests, canyons, marshes, grasslands, and waterfalls are just a few of the varied backdrops for hikers along the byway. Mississippi Palisades State Park offers six short walks along riverside bluffs leading to panoramic overlooks. The rest of the park’s rugged and extensive trail system will have you racking up the miles winding through forested ravines and along limestone formations. Inspiration Point in Shawnee National Forest is true to its title. Soak in views of the river valley below after taking a short hike to this memorable spot. Giant City State Park’s namesake trail leads you past and through massive sandstone blocks that form “Giant City Streets.” From easy to difficult, find the perfect trail to match your hiking skill at Loud Thunder Forest Preserve where the 17.5-mile network takes you along the river, through forested hills, and around Lake George. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an energetic journey, hiking is a great way to explore the byway’s natural wonders.


Apple River Canyon State Park

Apple River Canyon State Park - Salem Unit

Apple River Canyon State Park - Thompson Unit

Bald Knob Wilderness - Shawnee National Forest

Big River State Forest

Black Hawk State Historic Site

Buehler Preserve

Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve

Cedar Lake

Cedar Lake - Shawnee National Forest

Chestnut Mountain Resort

Clear Springs Wilderness - Shawnee National Forest

Delabar State Park

Dorrance Forest Preserve

Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve

Giant City State Park

Gramercy Park

Hanover Bluff State Natural Area

Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park

Horseshoe Lake State Park

Illiniwek Forest Preserve

Iris and Jack Witkowsky State Wildlife Area

Johnson Creek Recreation Area - Shawnee National Forest

Julius J. Knobeloch Woods Nature Preserve

Kaskaskia River State Fish & Wildlife Area

Kinkaid Lake & Trail System - Shawnee National Forest

Lake Murphysboro State Park

LaRue-Pine Hills - Otter Pond Research Natural Area - Shawnee National Forest

Little Grand Canyon - Shawnee National Forest

Loud Thunder Forest Preserve

McCully Heritage Project

Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge

Mississippi Palisades State Park

Morrison-Rockwood State Park

Nauvoo State Park

Pere Marquette State Park

Piasa Harbor

Pine Hills Campground

Piney Creek Ravine Nature Preserve

Pomona Natural Bridge - Shawnee National Forest

Rall Woods State Natural Area

Randolph County State Recreation Area

Salt Lick Point Land & Water Reserve

Schurmeier Teaching Forest

Stemler Cave Woods Nature Preserve

Stephens Park

Stony Hills Nature Preserve

Sylvan Island

Tapley Woods State Natural Area

The Nature Institute

Thomson Causeway Recreation Area

Trail of Tears State Forest

Turkey Bluffs State Fish & Wildlife Area

Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge and Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center

Valley of Eden Bird Sancutary

Wapello Land & Water Reserve

Wards Grove Nature Preserve

Watershed Nature Center

White Rock Nature Preserve

Wildcat Springs Park

Winston Tunnel State Natural Area