Midwest Living Review
This byway showcases the broad basin where the Illinois and Mississippi rivers flow into the Missouri just north of St. Louis. The 33-mile route traces the lower stretch of the Illinois River and the Mississippi as it arcs in a broad bend beneath high bluffs of limestone. Visitors soak in 18th-century river towns, busy bird life, and scenic islands and overlooks. The signed byway begins at Pere Marquette State Park and follows Illinois Route 100, Illinois Route 143 and Illinois Route 3 southeast, just beyond Alton. The 21.5-mile paved Vadalabene Bicycle Trail provides the same lovely views for nonmotorized travelers. It parallels the scenic route from Pere Marquette Park, hugging the limestone bluffs on a separate path all the way to Elsah. South of there, cyclists must share the road with vehicles. Wild Trak Bikes in Alton offers rentals.