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Meeting of the Great Rivers
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| MEETING OF THE GREAT RIVERS
Just 25 miles north of St. Louis on the banks of the Mississippi River, the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway is truly a Midwestern treasure with 33 miles of beautiful stretches of roadway cradled by the rolling waters of the Mighty Mississippi River and majestic limestone river bluffs. It is here along the byway that three great rivers converge – the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers.
The byway journey begins in Harftord with the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers where Lewis & Clark’s journey west began. In Hartford, visitors can experience the journey firsthand at the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site and National Trail Site #`1, and look out at the confluence from the new Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower. At the center of the byway, Alton is home to numerous historic landmarks and museums including: the Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail, National Great Rivers Museum, the Piasa Bird legend, the world’s tallest man – Robert Wadlow, Underground Railroad sites, the tallest monument in the state of Illinois, and much more.
The byway winds along the river bends through the quaint town of Elsah, the first village in its entirety to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Further down the road the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers converge in Grafton, where visitors can experience life on the river with wineries, antiques, fine dining and unique festivals and fairs year round. The roadway joins the main artery of the Great River Road just north of Grafton at Pere Marquette State Park, the largest state park in Illinois.
The Meeting of the Great Rivers byway is the perfect drive during any season of the year. In the spring, nature awakens as luscious green blossoms and a rainbow of wildflowers dance across the bluffs. There is no better time than summer for outdoor dining, picnicking and engaging in the many seasonal festivals and fairs along the river on the byway. Fall in love with the byway in the autumn as the bluffs burst with fiery fall colors, you pick-em orchards and pumpkin patches as you drive. Finally, even the winter yields an incredible drive as the eagles soar all around Alton reclaiming their winter nests on the byway.
Get behind the wheel and get ready for the great rivers and rare finds that lie ahead on the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. For more information, or to receive your official Guidebook to the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, call 1-800-258-6645 or go to GreatRiversByway.com.
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