Where is the Illinois River Road?
Traversing both east and west sides of the Illinois River from Ottawa, 150 miles south to Havana, the Illinois River Road has spurs to the communities of Princeton and Canton. The Illinois River Road corridor has over 100 natural and historic sites and numerous unique communities located throughout its 10-county region.

The Scenic Byway is conveniently located between Chicago and St. Louis, but just far enough to get away from it all. So get off the beaten path and see what the Illinois River Road has in store for you!


Overview Commerce and Recreation Geology Ecology Human History

The Illinois River Valley's natural wealth has attracted people for thousands of years.

For at least twelve thousand years, people have lived in the Illinois River Valley, drawn by its natural abundance, navigable river, and the fertile soils along the river's floodplain. Many Native American peoples lived here, hunting, gathering, and growing crops, and traveling the Illinois River in dugout canoes. The remains of ancient communities along the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway, including Dickson Mounds and Rockwell Mound, offer a window into the native peoples' long tenure in this valley.

In the 1600s, European explorers, fur traders, and missionaries came to the Illinois River Valley. They built homes, forts, trading posts and missions, and lived among the Native Americans. By the early 1800s, Euro-American settlers were flocking to the region. Conflict and disease decimated native communities. Treaties between the United States government and tribal leaders transferred land ownership to the federal government and moved native peoples away from their historic valley homeland.

As settlers came to the region, communities sprang up, built from the land's abundance. The Illinois River yielded astonishing catches of fish and mussels, sustaining what were once the nation's second largest inland fishery. Hunters sought out the river's multitudes of waterfowl. Settlers grew crops in the fertile soil and grazed livestock on prairie grasses. Immigrants came to the valley to extract the land's abundant minerals, predominantly coal, but also sandstone, limestone and clay, which were used for construction, brick-making, and pottery.

A series of channels, dams, and locks on the Illinois River links the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River, creating a cross-continental commercial transportation route from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Levees and dams harness the river's flow, shaping the land and river.

Explore the sites below and see rich archaeological evidence of the Native American people who lived in the Illinois River Valley for thousands of years. See, first-hand, why the explorers and settlers were drawn by the region's productivity and beauty, and how the Illinois River and its surrounding valley have been profoundly shaped by human hands.

Illinois Scenic Byways

Illinois Scenic Byways

Illinois River Road Report

Illinois River Road Report

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Your search generated 20 listing(s).

10956 N. Dickson Mounds Road, Lewistown, IL 61542
One of the major on-site archeological museums in the country, Dickson Mounds Museum also interprets the ecology of the Illinois River's Emiquon region. The site itself lies w...View Details.
Phone: 309-547-3721
Area: Lewistown
Site Access: free
GPS: 40.35149, -90.11556 Map It!

Grandview Drive & Route 29, Peoria, IL 61603
Named the "World's Most Beautiful Drive" by Theodore Roosevelt when he visited Peoria on October 10, 1910, Grandview Drive Grand View is revered as one of the most beautiful d...View Details.
Phone: 309-681-2902
Area: Peoria
GPS: 40.4331, -89.3314 Map It!

100 W. Main Street, Havana, IL 62644
Bordered by the east bank of the Illinois River this linear park possesses an ample walking trail shaded by the park's large riparian trees. On the park's bluff (at the termin...View Details.
Phone: 309-543-6240
Area: Havana
Site Access: free
GPS: 40.30024, -90.06539 Map It!

Highway Route 351, LaSalle, IL 60441
French explorer/cartographer Louis Jolliet first suggested the construction of a canal connecting Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River (via the Illinois River) in 1673, bu...View Details.
Phone: (815) 223-1851
Area: Utica
Site Access: free; fee
GPS: 41.329131,-89.095001 Map It!

The community of Liverpool was founded in 1836 as a commodity loading site for Illinois River freight boats destined for markets in Chicago to the north and St. Louis to the s...View Details.
Phone: (309) 547-2501
Area: Canton
GPS: 40.390775, -90.000859 Map It!

Water Street on the Peoria Riverfront, Peoria, IL 61602
Graced with attractions and venues for people of all ages and all walks of life, the Peoria RiverFront District has cultural, entertainment, dining, antiquing, residential, hi...View Details.
Phone: (309) 671-5555
Area: Peoria
GPS: 40.687526, -89.591571 Map It!

222 SW Washington Street, Peoria, IL 61602
Visit the new Peoria Riverfront Museum's world-class facility on Peoria's beautiful downtown riverfront. High-quality informative and interactive exhibits, all within view...View Details.
Phone: (309) 686-7000
Area: Peoria
Site Access: fee; Tue, Wed & Sat 10am-5pm; Thu & Fri 10am-8pm; Sun Noon-5pm
GPS: 40.689762, -89.590123 Map It!

Joliet Street, LaSalle, IL 60441
Of the 15 original locks installed to maneuver boat traffic up and down the 140-foot elevational grade between Chicago and LaSalle-Peru, only one survives: I&M Canal Lock 14, ...View Details.
Phone: 815 588-1100
Area: Utica
GPS: 41.3293686, -89.0941772 Map It!

1950 St. East, Princeton, IL
Located just 1 ½ miles north of Princeton on Route 26 is the Red Covered Bridge, built in 1863 and later rehabilitated in 1973. It is one of only five remaining covered bridg...View Details.
Area: Princeton
GPS: 41.416406, -89.47893 Map It!

US Route 24, Canton , IL 61520
An officially designated Important Birding Area, this complex of wetlands is composed of 5,660 acres with shallow floodplain lakes and bottomland forest habitats. Spring and f...View Details.
Phone: (309) 647-9184
Area: Canton
Site Access: free; fee
GPS: 40.461952,-89.934597 Map It!

100 Park Blvd., Chillicothe, IL 61523
Located in Chillicothe on the west bank of the Illinois River the park is an excellent place to view wintering Bald Eagles. The focal point of the park is a 19th-century clubh...View Details.
Phone: (309) 274-3409
Area: Chillicothe
Site Access: free
GPS: 40.90374, -89.49135 Map It!

Singing Woods Road, Peoria, IL 61603
For centuries native people have benefited from the diversity of this rich woodland, today the Peoria area benefits from the preservation of this exceptional 700-acre nature p...View Details.
Phone: 309-686-3360
Area: Peoria
GPS: 40.859025, -89.603648 Map It!

100 N. E. Water Street, Peoria, IL 61602
Docked at Downtown Peoria's Riverfront Park, the paddle wheeler, Spirit of Peoria, embarks on regularly-scheduled cruises to various Illinois River destinations including Star...View Details.
Phone: (309) 637-8000
Area: Peoria
Site Access: fee
GPS: 40.68965, -89.58728 Map It!

23235 N CR 22, Canton, IL 61520
Nestled along the edge of an old growth oak-hickory forest, Spoon River College lies 4 miles southwest of Canton. It is a public community college and hosts a network of natur...View Details.
Phone: 309-647-4645
Area: Canton
Site Access: free
GPS: 40.52579, -90.07706 Map It!

Route 71 & Route 178, Utica, IL 61373
Starved Rock is one of the premier natural areas in the Midwest. There are 18 canyons cut by melting glaciers at the end of the ice age. They sparkle seasonally with waterfall...View Details.
Phone: 815-667-4726
Area: Utica
Site Access: free; fee
GPS: 41.309139, -88.988893 Map It!

State Route 78/97, Lewistown, IL 61542
TNC has embarked on one of the largest wetland restoration projects in the U.S. Beneath the nearly 7,000 acres of plowed cropland was a dormant seed bank of prairie, hardwood ...View Details.
Phone: (309) 547-2730
Area: Lewistown
GPS: 40.35838, -90.08587 Map It!

Bennington Street, Toluca, IL 61369
In 1893, the Santa Fe Railroad purchased 11,000 acres here, and authorized the Devlin Coal Company to mine the site. Peak production occurred in 1905, with well over 700 worke...View Details.
Phone: 815-452-2536
Area: East Peoria
Site Access: free
GPS: 40.99964, -89.13413 Map It!

6329 Koerner Road, Edwards, IL 61528
Owned and operated by the Peoria Park District, William H. Sommer Park is primarily a reservation-only facility for private groups from April through October. However, this se...View Details.
Phone: 309-691-8423
Area: Peoria
Site Access: fee; reservation only
GPS: 40.76948, -89.68941 Map It!

1503 Baker Street, Streator, IL 61364
The Weber House, built by Ernest and Zelma Weber in 1937, is a storybook Tudor cottage which sits in an English garden with a path meandering through foxgloves, hollyhocks, an...View Details.
Phone: (815) 672-8327
Area: Streator
GPS: 41.135697, -88.832533 Map It!

CR 1300N with CR 10/CR 100E., Princeton, IL 61356
Bureau County's Witness Tree is a 250-year-old bur oak which has served as a landmark and meeting site for at least 200 years. This mammoth oak's burly trunk measures 14 feet ...View Details.
Phone: 815-875-8732
Area: Princeton
Site Access: free
GPS: 41.33507, -89.81862 Map It!