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!

  
  


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Illinois & Michigan Canal and Lock 16 Visitors Center
Highway Route 351, LaSalle, IL 60441



Listing Photo 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, but it wasn't until 1836 that construction actually began. The canal, measuring 96 miles long by 60 feet wide by six feet deep, was completed in 1848, instantly allowing boat travel from Chicago to reach the navigable portion of the Illinois River at LaSalle-Peru in one day - a journey that took several days by wagon. Eventually, railways, which hauled even more cargo at a much quicker pace, replaced canal transport. By the 1870's, even newly-introduced steam-powered boats could not keep up with railway commerce. By 1933, even hunting, fishing, and other pleasure crafting ceased on the I&M with the completion of the Illinois Waterway, which joined the now-channelized portions of the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers with the Sanitary and Ship Channel. In 1984, the canal was successfully included as a component in the U.S. National Park Service's National Heritage Corridor Program, which provides for not only funding but also planning, programming, and various amenities along the canal route. Today, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources manages the towpath of the I&M as a state trail, open to hikers and bikers for 60 miles of its length. Similarly, local towns and villages are refurbishing I&M-related buildings, locks, bridges, and other structures. Because it covers so much ground the canal path transects a diverse array of habitats offering a wide diversity of birds.

Lock 16 Visitor Center and I&M Canal Boat Ride are located at the corner of First Street and Route 351 (Joliet Street) at the I&M Canal in Downtown LaSalle. Come enjoy a one-hour 1848 canal boat ride with guides from the era. Rides run daily Mon-Sat 10am to 3:30pm and Sun 11:15am-2:15pm. The Lock 16 Visitor Center with gift shop and café is open year round. Visitor Center hours are Mon, Wed, Thurs 7am-7pm; Tues 7am-8:30pm; Fri 7am-5pm; Sat & Sun 8am-5pm Special events are held every month. Please visit our website or callfor more information or to make a reservation. Reservations are recommended.


View Website Map & Driving Directions


GPS: 41.329131,-89.095001
Site Access: free; fee
Phone: (815) 223-1851

Nearby Sites

Port of LaSalle Lock 16 Canal [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, in LaSalle, IL. Like all the other I&M locks, Lock 14 was built with local limestone, and possesses massive white oak gates and swing arms. This site also provides visitors with an idea of the scale of canal boat operation.

Lock 16 Visitor Center and I&M Canal Boat Ride are located at the corner of First Street and Route 351 (Joliet Street) at the I&M Canal in Downtown LaSalle. Come enjoy a one-hour 1848 canal boat ride with guides from the era. Rides run daily Mon-Sat 10a.m to 3:30p.m. and Sun 11:15a.m.-2:15p.m. The Lock 16 Visitor Center with gift shop and café is open year round. Visitor Center hours are Mon, Wed, Thurs 7am-7pm; Tues 7am-8:30pm; Fri 7am-5pm; Sat & Sun 8am-5pm. Special events are held every month. Please visit www.lasallecanalboat.org or call 815-223-1851 for more information or to make a reservation. Reservations are recommended.

Seneca Grain Elevator [Map It]
Williams Street, Ottawa, IL 61350
Located in Seneca, IL, the Seneca (M.J. Hogan) Grain Elevator (open by appointment only: 815-942-9501) is one of the last of the old 19th century grain storage structures in Illinois. Built in 1862, the elevator allowed local farmers to store their grain for shipment instead of transporting it directly to markets by horse and wagon. The 65-foot structure possesses a storage capacity of 70,000 bushels, and handled well over 750,000 bushels per season.



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