Clark Bridge

Clark Bridge

Photo by Illinois2011(Tyler Warren), Flickr Creative Commons

Illinois Great River 1 Day RV Itinerary

Image from www.byways.orgThe Piasa Bird Mural Image from

Day 1

Start: Pere Marquette State Park

The park over looks the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. The lodge is considered by many to be the finest state lodge in Illinois; it was built by the WPA during the Great Depression. The lodge and cabins are available for overnight visitors. The area has several nature trails and prehistoric sites available. Try your hand at horseback riding, camping, fishing, boating and hiking. Don't miss the visitor's center where you can learn firsthand about the natural treasures in and around the park. Campgrounds are available, and there is also a boat launch.

Stop 1: Brussels Free Ferry

Directions from previous place:     Go west on IL 100 for 5 miles, until you pass through Grafton. After Grafton go 1 more mile until you see the free ferry on your right.
Distance from Previous Site:          6 miles / 9.6 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     7 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:        15 minutes

A few miles beyond Grafton is the Brussels Ferry. The ferry will take your car across the Illinois River into Calhoun County, which is a green and hilly land full of natural beauty.

Stop 2: Clark Bridge

Directions from previous place:     Starting in Grafton go southeast on IL 100 for 10.9 miles. The road will turn into W. Broadway St. Continue on this road until you cross the Clark Bridge into Alton.
Distance from Previous Site:           11.55 miles / 18.5 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     17 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:           5 minutes

Constructed in 1993, the Clark Bridge has become a landmark in this part of Illinois. Take a drive across this award winning bridge.

Stop 3: National Great Rivers Museum at Melvin Price Lock and Dam

Directions from previous place:     In Alton, continue go east on Broadway St. This road will become W. St. Louis Ave. Follow this road until you reach Haller Ave. and turn left. Turn right to go onto 1st St. and follow it until you reach the museum.
Distance from Previous Site:            4.9 miles / 7.8 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     13 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:           1 hour

Located at Melvin Price Lock and Dam, this state-of-the-art interpretive center tells the story of the Mississippi River. The museum interactive displays and exhibits that help visitors understand the many aspects of the Mississippi River and how it affects our lives.

Stop 4: The Piasa Bird

Directions from previous place:     Go west on 1st St. and turn left onto Haller Ave. Turn right onto W. Edwardsville Rd., which will become E. St. Louis Ave. Turn left onto IL 3 going south and follow it for 3.6 miles, until you see the Piasa Bird on the bluffs overhead.
Distance from Previous Site:           3 miles / 4.8 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     5 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:          5 minutes

This ancient Native American pictograph has recently been restored on the cliff face above the river. Take a look at the mysterious bird that has baffled people for hundreds of years.

End: Bluffs

Directions from previous place:     Continue going south on IL 3 and you will see the Bluffs on both sides of the road.
Distance from Previous Site:            5.18 miles / 8.3 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     10 minutes

The bluffs tower above the river with the byway road surface immediately between the peaks and the riverbank. Anytime is good viewing but late afternoon and sunset are very rewarding. As the river flows by, the sun illuminates the bluffs, creating a vista unlike anywhere else on the Mississippi.

Totals for Day 1

Total Distance Traveled:     30.63 miles / 49.0 km
Total Travel Time:              52 minutes
Total Stopping Time:            1 hour 25 minutes

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