Visitors Guide to the
Little Dixie Highway Region
Pike County, Missouri
including the towns of Clarksville and Louisiana

Stretching for 30 miles along the Great River Road is one of America’s newest Scenic Byways. The Little Dixie Highway of the Great River Road travels atop limestone bluffs and offers stunning views of the mighty Mississippi River, 19th century Southern-style architecture, the river town ambiances of its communities, prime bird and eagle watching opportunities, and a variety of recreational possibilities.

The region gets its name from the settlers who moved into Missouri from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia following the Louisiana Purchase. By the time Missouri was admitted to the Union as a slave state in 1821, these settlers’ southern culture already dominated the region and referred their homesteads not as farms but as plantations. Although now generally considered part of the Midwest, Missouri was once thought of itself as Southern. Raising southern crops such as corn, cotton, tobacco, and hemp, the landowners relied so heavily on slave labor to work their farms and to increase their wealth that by 1860, almost one person out of four was an African-American slave. The plantation homes and southern-style architecture that can be found along the byway are a reminder of these times.

One of the newest Byways in the country, the Little Dixie Highway of the Great River Road begins in Clarksville on the banks of the Mississippi River. Founded in 1817, Clarksville was once a busy river port that is enjoying a revival as a tourist destination. Its downtown business district, which fronts the Mississippi, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with buildings built in the late 19th century. 10 miles north along Highway 79 is another river town – Louisiana. In both towns antique shops and specialty shops occupy original buildings. Working artisans, who continue to practice their traditional skills, provide the visitor with a true glimpse of bygone days producing unique handcrafted wares that cannot be found any place else.

The region has been recognized by the Missouri Department of Conversation for being the most outstanding locale for nature tourism in the state. Its location on the Mississippi Flyway offers visitors the opportunity to encounter the spring and fall migrations of waterfowl and other birds. The World Bird Sanctuary of St. Louis, Missouri describes Clarksville as “the eagle viewing capitol of the United States” due to the number of eagles that make the town home during the winter. A variety of programs are held throughout the town to help visitors learn more about our national symbol.

The vibrant and revitalized river communities of the Hannibal/The Little Dixie Highway of the Great River Road offer visitors a wide variety of year-round attractions and activities to choose from. The region’s location makes it an ideal day trip from St. Louis, a great place to stay for the weekend, or a must see stop on a trip along the Great River Road.

Explore these Great River Road Communities
along the Little Dixie Highway of the Great River Road
Clarksville   Louisiana
Henry Lay
Sculpture Park
Lock and Dam #24 Clarksville
Tourist Center
The Murals of

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