Illinois River Road

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­­Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway

Driving Visitor-Based Economic Development

The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway is a catalyst for increased tourism, economic growth, and quality ofIllinois River Road Logo place. The core of the Illinois River Road is to drive efforts that will increase visitation, grow small businesses, and instill a sense of pride for the region’s beautiful, natural assets and recreational areas. The Illinois River Road presents the communities, sites, and attractions along both sides of the Illinois River from Ottawa to Havana, Illinois. Programming provided by the Illinois River Road is dependent upon community and organization investments.

The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway preserves the natural river country along the banks of the Illinois River, so visitors can travel the same route as early French explorers.  Get close to nature and see what the Illinois River Road has in store for you.  Whether hiking the bluff trails, biking our historic canal towpaths, wetting a fishing line in the waters or simply enjoying serene wildlife habitats, you’ll be immersed in the rich history and beauty of the Illinois River Valley.

Unique communities along the way are host to dining, shopping and historical experiences, as well as festivals and events year-round.  For a truly unique treasure hunt, seek out 90 geocaches placed throughout the journey; or pick up our Birding Site Guide and spot Bald Eagles, owls and waterfowl that call the Illinois River Valley home.  Your possibilities for adventure are endless.

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What is an America’s Byway®?

The definition of “scenic” reaches beyond breathtaking vistas. All of America’s Byways® are “scenic”, representing the depth and breadth of scenery in America–natural and man-made panoramas; electrifying neon landscapes; ancient and modern history coming alive; native arts and culture; and scenes of friends, families and strangers sharing their stories.  Byways are about getting off the beaten path and experiencing what our local American communities have to offer.

America’s Byways® are gateways to adventures where no two experiences are the same. The National Scenic Byways Program invites you to come closer to America’s heart and soul…

For information about America’s Byways®, visit