Blackjack Road (Galena to Savanna) Rural road that twists and undulates for almost 15 miles. A couple of great views of the Mississippi River if you're headed south.
Update contributed by Freebird3767: This route takes you through dozens and dozens of twisties and sweepers along the best that northern Illinois has to offer. Many scenic views of the Misssissippi River Valley, many pulloffs for pictures. The elevation is roughly 1000 ft.and you'll be travelling up and down 500-600' constantly. Summer is great, but fall colors in northern Illinois are amazing. A very fun ride but not for the newbies.
Illinois Ultimate Scenic Rivers Route Scenic river road. Mississippi River views and bluffs at south end. Then mostly farm and river countryside north of Grafton. A beautiful combination of the Great River Road scenic byway and part of the Illinois River Scenic Byway roads. Fast Eddies Bon Air in Alton
Shawnee National Forest This area is called the Illinois Ozarks located in the very Southern Part of Illinois between the Mississippi River and Missouri on the West and the Ohio River and Kentucky on the East. The area is very hilly with numerous lakes, bluffs, cypress swamps and caves. There are unlimited scenic views of the area from the hills and cliff tops.
The Three Corners Scenic Loop (Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa) This rides scenery offers everything from rolling cornfields, small mountains, roads along the Mississippi river, lots of small towns and an Illinois stage coach trail. A great sample of some of the best scenery from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. You'll also see some nice Victorian style homes along the way.
Mississippi River Levee Triple Loop On this route you'll start out by cruising high above the surrounding areas as you drive a series of Army Corps of Engineers flood levees. Along the route are quaint little farms and patches of woods. Later the route takes you into and up on some huge cliffs that parallel the flood plane. These cliffs are actually limestone bluffs that rise a couple hundred feet above the flood plain and parallel the river for much of its path through Illinois. This part of the route is extremely beautiful in the fall due to the colors displayed by the surrounding woods. The route then descends and leaves the bluffs and takes you northward where the road rides next to base of the huge bluffs for the remainder of the route.
Great River Road The Mississippi river is on one side, and typically there are bluffs, caves, beautiful farm fields, wetlands or something beautiful on the other side to see. The road is all paved and it takes you through a lot of small river towns. You'll see LOTS of bikes along the way as well as boats on the river. As far as wild life, you'll see plenty of birds and even bald eagles at the right time of year! At several places there are ferries that you can take west across the river if you are heading back to St. Louis.
The following addition was contributed by Sparks in March of 2014:
Soaring Eagles and the Piasa Bird are but two of the many rewards riders find on the Great River Road, North Saint Louis Branch. 15 miles of winding two lanes up and two lanes back along the rolling Mississippi River between Alton and Grafton, Illinois provide a feast for every human sense.
Most folks will begin and end their ride in Alton, Illinois. If you have folks coming in from other locations, a really good rally point would be in the parking lot under the cliff mural of the great Piasa Bird just as one passes the lime stone quarry at the very beginning of the Great River Road.
Northern Iowa River Run This route takes you through some picture perfect little dairy and agriculture farms and along side the Mississippi River. You will see old river towns and many of the boats and barges that travel along the old Mississippi. Along the way you will travel next to some giant bluffs that give you a great view of the river valley.
River Road to Natchez A beautiful drive riding the Mississippi river levee. No amenities whatsoever, but no traffic. Beautiful fields, woods, long bridges, views of river lakes and locks.
Natchez Trace Parkway On the southern end of the route the forests consist of oaks, pines, beeches and magnolias that gather tightly together and create a dense shade over the underlying ground. Driving along this route in the Spring and seeing the budding dogwoods and redbuds you will know why this is one of the US Department of Transportation's group of elite 'All American Roads'. You will see many of the trees are covered in drapings of Spanish moss that give the forest an eerie Cajon look. The route follows a famous 8,000-year-old pathway that led early Indians, warring armies, Spanish conquistadors and early American settlers to their destinations. It is also the path that boatman used to return to their origins in the Midwest. These boatmen would maneuver their boats down the Mississippi River to deliver their cargo to places such as New Orleans. Then, rather than attempt to return their boats by fighting upstream, they would sell the boats for wood and walk back to their home states along the same path as this route ... as far as Kentucky and Ohio. This process continued until steamboat travel, around the year 1812, became a more safe and favored means of returning up river. Along this route you will see 'Little Mountain' which oddly enough is one of the highest points in all of Mississippi (603 ft).
Gulf Coast at Its Best This route will start you out in southern Alabama and take you down along the Gulf Coast of Southern Mississippi and into the tip of Louisiana as you cross the Mississippi/Louisiana border heading into New Orleans. You'll start out in lush, green coastal forests and then make your way to the coast of Mississippi. Once down in Mississippi you'll drive along the beautiful Gulf Coast and see the Gulf, beaches, bays, inlets, rivers, lakes, and marsh areas. Once you pass Ocean Springs and cross over the bay and enter Biloxi you'll see a series of huge world class casinos where you can pull over and give the Casinos your hard earned money, or take some of the money they took from poor soles like yourself ... or maybe just eat at one of their outstanding restaurants and buffets. More casinos are available in Gulfport and/or Bay St. Louis. After leaving Biloxi/Gulfport/Bay St. Louis you'll want to head west and take in some more of the coastal scenery that continues as you enter the Mississippi river delta area and enter into the city of New Orleans where you'll find the world famous Bourbon and Canal St. areas. There you'll find more restaurants, pubs/bars, and arts/craft stores than you will know what to do with. You'll also probably see things you didn't expect to see to ... but that's another story. ***The lush trees aren't so lush, but the damage from Hurricane Katrina is pretty interesting and not something you see everyday! There are about 6 or so casinos re-opened and ready to take your money or make you richer.
In May of 2018 Rob1947 added: "This route hugs the Gulf of Mexico with a great view of beaches and the Gulf for the entire 30 miles. Gas, food casinos in Biloxi and .Gulfport. I would avoid Mobile to Pascagoula because of heavy traffic and stop lights. Take I-10 to Ocean Springs exit. See the next segment for continued trip."
Natchez Trace side trip to a Ghost Town - Rodney, MS A ride to and through a virtual ghost town (Rodney, MS) with a fascinating history ... along the way you'll be exploring the backwoods of the Mississippi River. Expect to see deer, turkey, and Elephants (just making sure you're paying attention). At the end you'll make your way into historic Rodney, MS (which dates back to 1715)was once a port on the Mississippi River. It was significant location during the civil war. A cannonball remains wedged in the front of the church. An old cemetery is also of interest and should be explored. Many of the roads you will be traveling were used by troops during the civil war as well. .
St. Louis / Il Bluffs / MO Mining Country Loop After riding through about 10 miles of industrial wasteland in East St. Louis, Cahokia and Dupo, the route follows the Mississippi River flood plain below the river bluffs from Columbia, IL to Prairie du Rocher, IL. Nice flat road in Illinois with good views of the fertile bottom land. Stop at Ft. Chartres State Park (colonial era restored French/British fort). Great place for a picnic lunch. Continue along the Bluff Road to the Modoc Ferry to Ste. Genevieve, MO. Beautiful rolling hills and gentle curves along Missouri routes 32 and 21, passing through the lead mining region, before returning to St. Louis.
Pack a picnic lunch if you plan to do this trip in one day. Its an all day affair, at least 6 hours.
From Hannibal MO to Louisiana MO on 79 This route hugs the banks of the Mississippi river and offers a very nice country setting with park like wooded areas and a couple spectacular vistas of the mighty Mississippi.
Wisconsin 60 Along the Wisconsin River Parallels the Wisconsin River from Madison (Sauk city) to Prairie du Chien where the Mississippi River and the Wisconsin Rivers intersect. River on one arm and spacious river valley back dropped by foothills and bluffs. Visit Villa Louis, an 1800's villa and mansion on the Mississippi River right in Prairie du Chien.
Minneapolis Lakes Lakes, parkland, downtown Minneapolis, Mississippi River, Minnehaha Creek. You will see most of the amazing beauty of the Minneapolis Park system and much of the city of Minneapolis.
Triple State Mississippi River Run (MN, IA, WI) Good view of the Mississippi river and of the neighboring hills. The majority of the route, hugs the river and you'll be able to take in all that scenery from both the eastern and western shores.
Great River Road Northern Extension Although not a official/government named extention of the Great River Road US Scenic Byway, if you like the Great River Road, this route is a great way to extend your drive. The roads skirt the Mississippi River Bluffs for most of your trip. A lot of rural scenery and rustic beauty. Flat farm land to hillside vistas of the Big Muddy.
River Kings Row As you leave the St. Louis metro area heading south on hwy 61, you enter many small river towns along Mississippi River.
The Blues Highway The Mississippi Delta is flat with lots of fields and there will be long stretches where you can see for miles of corn, soybeans or cotton. Some places will be deep bayous with cypress tress, like an oasis in a sea of cotton fields. If you stay on Hwy 61, the ride if fairly easy and towns few and far between. Going off course may be some of the most interesting detours - you may find towns such as Midnight, Mississippi. The route I plan to show on the map goes off Hwy 61 for some scenery and attractions. The deer herds around Eagle Lake are rumored to be in the hundreds - especially when the Mississippi River is high.
Mississippi River Road North of Keokuk Much of this ride runs along side the Mississippi River. You will see barges, trains, and an old school house just to mention a few things. a few miles take you just west of the river through a very small town (Sandusky) and past farm fields and a coal terminal.
Mississippi Levee Roads You will find yourself riding atop the Mississippi River Levee for quite a span. The left will be the river batture. In south LA the area between the levee and the river is called the Batture. Being elevated by the levee, the view to the right is miles of symmetrically planted agricultural crops...as far as the eye can see.
Later you will cross the Old River Control Structures which is the head of the Atchafalaya Basin.