Visitors Guide to
Public Parks and Areas
in the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway Area
Madison, Jersey & Calhoun Counties, Illinois
   

Pere Marquette State Park
  Pere Marquette is Illinois' largest state park and is famous for the beauty of its fall colors and as a home for bald eagles in the winter. The park offers its visitors diverse recreational and educational opportunities that encompass the past, present and future. The new Visitors Center provides displays that cover the regionís history and the types of environments the visitor can encounter as well as housing informative interpretative programs. The park has 10 hiking trails that traverse a variety of terrains and horseback riding is offered during the warmer months. The park has year round electric and basic campgrounds. The Lodge consists of both new facilities as well as those constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. All this and more makes Pere Marquette State Park a great place to explore!
     
Horseshoe Lake State Park
3321 Highway 111
Granite City
618-931-0270
  This 2,960 acre park is centered around an oxbow lake with bird watching, nature trails, camping, fishing, hunting and other recreational activities.
   
Two Rivers National
Wildlife Refuge
West of the Brussels Ferry
on County Road 1
  The Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge consists of a variety of habitats and is a major migration corridor for waterfowl, bald eagles and other birds. The refuge is closed mid-October to mid-December, but the office/visitor center is open weekdays and some weekends during that period.
   
Riverlands Environmental
Demonstration Area

Off MO-367 just before
the Clark Bridge
  The Corps of Engineers manages this 1200 acre wetland area that is located across Mississippi River from downtown Alton near the Clark Bridge. The Riverlands Environmental Demonstration attempts to recreate the bottomland wet prairie and marshes that existed prior to the arrival of European settlers and offers open space, walking trails, fresh air, and spectacular views. The area offers visitors the opportunity to view large numbers of resident and migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as other wildlife that live in the wetlands. The area is noted for bald eagles in the winter and the American Pelican in the spring and fall.
  The Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail
The Vadalabene Trail is approximately 20 miles of level paved trail that parallels the Great River Road and the center portion of the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway. The trail is named after Sam M. Vadalabene, an Illinois State Senator and proponent of the trail and begins in Alton, travels through the river towns of Elsah and Grafton, and ends at Pere Marquette State Park. Riders, walkers, and joggers will see prairie wildflowers along the trail as well as flowering trees during the spring. Brilliant reds, yellows and oranges compliment the scenery in the fall. For those willing to brave the elements in the winter months should be able to see Bald Eagles soaring over the river and bluffs, or floating down the river on chunks of ice.
   
Olin Nature Preserve
S. Levis Lane
Godfrey, IL
618-467-2254
 
  Although Illinois still is known as the "Prairie State," less than 0.01% of Illinois' original 21 million acres of prairie remains. One area that is being preserved is the nearly 300-acre tract Olin Nature Preserve, one of the largest privately owned nature preserves in the state. The preserve harbors 374 native plant species and provides habitat to nearly 150 species of birds at different times of the year. Marked trails give the visitor splendid views of the Mississippi River from the hill prairie, and a view of the Mississippi flood plain.
   
McCully Heritage Project
Off of Route 100
South of Kampsville
618-653-4687
  Located about 1 mile south of the Kampsville Free Ferry off of the Great River Road, the Project consists of 940 acres encompassing woodlands, prairie, wetlands, and agricultural land. With over 15 miles of hiking trails traveling through this diverse terrain, the area is truly a hikerís delight. Facilities include handicapped-accessible restrooms, a pavilion, picnic facilities, ample parking, two fishing ponds, a restored wetland with a boardwalk, and prairie plots. The Project is perfect for picnicking, bird watching, nature photography and turtle watching.
   
Mississippi River State
Fish & Wildlife Area
  15 wildlife management areas and 11 public access areas in 3 counties, spanning more than 24,000 acres, and scattered along 75 miles along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.
   
Gordon Moore Park
Route 140
(College Avenue)
Alton
  This 702 acre park located on the east side of Alton has a rose garden, an oriental garden, a handicapped accessible nature trail and fishing ponds. The park also contains the 27 acre tall-grass Heartland Prairie where visitors can find prairie wildflowers blooming from late March through early October.
   
FEATURED ATTRACTIONS ALONG THE GREAT RIVER ROAD
Lewis and Clark
State Historic Site
Mississippi
River Ferries
Cahokia Mounds
State Historic Site
Historic
Elsah, Illinois
     


 
  Regional Guides
to the Middle Mississippi River Valley
 
       
  Meeting of the Great Rivers
National Scenic Byway
Ste. Genevieve &
French Colonial Country
Gateway to the West
St. Louis & St. Louis County
        
 
   Meeting the Missouri
Historic St. Charles County
The Lincoln Hills Region
Northeast Missouri
   
 
  The Tri-States Area
Iowa, Illinois & Missouri
The Mississippi River
Meets the Ohio River
   
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