Tag Archives: fall

Chasing fall color on the Great River Road

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Autumn is one of the most spectacular times to travel the Great River Road. The Mississippi River Valley’s unique landscape explodes in brilliant shades of red and gold. Parks along the route offer dramatic vistas—they are perfect places to take in the beauty of the season. Here are some good bets for fall color along the northern section of the Great River Road.

Perrot State Park, Trempealeau, Wisconsin

A good bet for fall color is this forested Wisconsin state park is located where the Trempealeau River meets the Mississippi River. Don’t miss the view from the top of 500-foot cliffs. Consider bringing walking shoes—the area’s hiking trails will take you through some spectacular foliage.

Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor, Iowa

Get ready for dramatic views when you get out of your car at the top of Pike’s Peak. This park’s 500-foot bluffs offer fantastic vistas of the river valley from the Iowa side. It’s one of the most photographed spots in Iowa, and in the fall, the views are incredible.

Great River Bluffs State Park, Winona, Minnesota

Another breathtaking spot to take in the fall beauty is Great River Bluffs State Park in Winona. This preserve features steep-sided 500-foot bluffs. Hike the King’s Bluff trail to discover sweeping fall views of the Mississippi River Valley.

Grandad Bluff, La Crosse, Wisconsin

Head up for some of the best fall color in La Crosse. From this 600-foot bluff you can take in the city of La Crosse and the rolling landscape referred to as the Coulee Region. You can see three states from this vantage point: Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

Fenelon Place Elevator, Dubuque, Iowa

The world’s shortest, steepest elevator ride is your ticket to fall color in Dubuque. The elevator was originally built to help people who lived in the bluffs get home more quickly than driving their horse and buggy up the steep hills. The ride is about 300 feet long but takes you 189 feet up. From above you’ll see a panoramic view of fall color that covers three states!

Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, Madison, Illinois, to St. Louis, Missouri

This unusual bridge is considered one of the area’s best places to see fall color. Built in 1929, the bridge is unlike any other—it actually bends mid-way across the Mississippi. Today the bridge is open to bikes and pedestrians. Bring your camera!

Things we’re thankful for along the Great River Road

Thursday, November 19, 2015

davenportIt’s Thanksgiving next week, so we’re thinking about all the reasons we’re giving thanks this season. Here are just a few things we’re thankful for along the Great River Road.

Beautiful scenery. We’re past peak color season, but traveling the Great River Road in spring, summer and fall offers awe-inspiring scenery. Scenic areas along the Mississippi River bluffs in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa provide spectacular views of the river and are especially picturesque in fall.

Delicious food. Farm-to-table delicacies. Mouth-watering barbecue. Fresh seafood. Whatever you have an appetite for, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find it in your drive along the Great River Road. If you’re headed south on the Great River Road, be sure to visit New Orleans—one of the best food cities in the world.

Interesting attractions. Up and down the Great River Road, you’ll find scores of interesting attractions, from fish hatcheries to art museums to science centers. Stop by one of the more than 70 interpretive centers along the Great River Road to learn about the culture, heritage, history and ecology of the Mississippi River Region.

Hometown hospitality. From big cities like St. Louis, New Orleans and Minneapolis to small river towns across the northern and southern sections of the river, you’ll find friendly folks all along your drive. Spend some time exploring charming Main Streets or taking in the hustle and bustle of the big city (or give both a try).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Savor autumn on the Great River Road

Friday, September 25, 2015

Every autumn, you’ll see them: cars that are traveling slowly and are seemingly headed nowhere in particular. The cars have a destination, but it’s not a place; it’s a season. This is the time of year when people enjoy moving a little more slowly. They are savoring the season. This is the time when the air is a little fresher and the trees are ablaze in colors of red, yellow and orange.
During this season, many people take leisurely drives on country roads to admire the trees, explore apple orchards and wineries and discover beautiful parks. The Mississippi River region is a popular fall driving destination. With numerous state parks, scenic overlooks and abundant wildlife, the region is a spectacular place to explore on an autumn day.
The trees turn colors at different times, depending on the state. In northern states, colors are the most brilliant in September; in southern states colors reach their peak in early November. Days along the Mississippi can be warm this time of year, but evenings can be cool–be sure to pack a sweater or light jacket. And don’t forget your camera. Your pictures will be amazing. Enjoy your trip chasing autumn down the Mississippi.
Here are some great scenic overlooks to enjoy spectacular autumn views of the Mississippi.

Great River Bluffs State Park – Winona, Minnesota

Barn Bluff – Red Wing, Minnesota

Wyalusing State Park – Bagley, Wisconsin

Grandad Bluff – La Crosse, Wisconsin

Pike’s Peak State Park – McGregor, Iowa

Old Chain of Rocks Bridge – Madison, Illinois

Sunset Park – Rock Island, Illinois

Old Mississippi River Bridge Scenic Overlook – Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Trail of Tears State Park – Jackson, Missouri

Reelfoot Lake State Park Visitor Center – Tiptonville, Tennessee