Great River Road

Driving the Byway

The Great River Road runs from the US-Canada border to the Gulf Coast. However, only sections of the Great River Road have been designated as National Scenic Byways. These sections are in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, part of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Minnesota Section

Beginning at the "Old Man River" source at Lake Itasca, travel this section of the Great River Road through the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota. Follow Highway 61 north to the plains and agricultural areas in the central part of the state. Continue on through the Twin Cities metropolitan area and the bluffs and river towns of southeast Minnesota to the Iowa border.

Mississippi River Headwaters Region - from Itasca State Park to Bemidji (30 miles)

  • Begin the Great River Road journey at the Mississippi River headwaters in Lake Itasca State Park, about 20 miles north of Park Rapids.
  • Follow the Wilderness Drive through the park's interior to Clearwater Co. Rd. 2, through the town of Lake Itasca.
  • Turn east onto Clearwater Co. Rd. 40 to Hubbard County 9, through Becida.
  • At 169th Ave. turn north. This road becomes Beltrami Co. Rd. 7.
  • Follow it into Bemidji.

Mississippi River Northwoods Region - from Bemidji to Grand Rapids (100 miles)

The Great River Road through Bemidji follows MN 197 between Lakes Bemidji and Lake Irving.

  • Co. Rd. 7 turns into 5th St. NW.
  • At State Hwy. 197, turn south.
  • At 1st Street turn east and continue north and east on Beltrami Co. Rd. 12 (Lake Avenue).
  • At Beltrami Co. Rd. 27 turn south, then east on Beltrami Co. Rd. 8 (Roosevelt Rd).
  • At Lake Andrusia, follow Beltrami Co. Rd. 33 northeast around Cass Lake.
  • At Beltrami Co. Rd. 12 turn east to Pennington.
  • Turn south Co. Rd. 39 and turn east on National Forest Service Road 2171.
  • Bear right onto National Forest Service Road 2167 and follow it to US 2 along the south side of Lake Winnibigoshish.
  • Continue on US 2 through Bena and then turn northeast on Cass Co. Rd. 9.
  • Take MN 46 southeast to Itasca Co. Rd. 39. Turn south and follow along the lower edge of Ball Club * Lake, through the community of Ball Club, back to US 2.
  • Turn east onto US 2, followed shortly by a turn south onto Itasca Co. Rod. 18.
  • The Great River Road crosses the Mississippi River by heading south on Itasca Co. Rd. 18.
  • Turn east on Co. Rd. 65 and follow it to State Hwy. 6.
  • Take State Hwy. 6 north to Co. Rd. 63.
  • Continue north and east on Co. Rd. 63 to the intersection of Co. Rd. 76.
  • Take Co. Rd. 76 south and east to Co. Hwy. 23.
  • At Co. Rd. 23, turn east to Grand Rapids.

Mississippi River Crossings Region - Grand Rapids to Little Falls (153 miles)

From Grand Rapids to Aitkin (58 miles)

  • Turn north onto 7th Ave and take it to Co. Hwy. 3.
  • Begin traveling the Great River Road south of Grand Rapids on County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 3.
  • Go south on CSAH 10, a partially gravel road, to Palisade.
  • Continue through Palisade where the road changes back to Co. Hwy. 3.
  • Take Co. Hwy. 3 to State Hwy. 169 and turn south.
  • Turn east onto Co. Hwy. 21.
  • Turn south onto Township Rd. 367 and follow it east to 410th Ave.
  • Turn south and follow it to Aitkin.

From Aitkin to Brainerd (45 miles)

  • From Aitkin the Great River Road travels west on TH 210 to Deerwood and then merges with TH 6 continuing into Crosby.
  • Take TH 6 north to CSAH 11 and head west.
  • Turn west onto CSAH 19 and then south on CSAH 3 through Merrifield to Brainerd, continuing west on TH 210.

From Brainerd to Little Falls (40 miles)

  • Turn west on State Hwy. 210 to State Hwy. 371.
  • Follow State Hwy. 371 to Laurel St. and turn west.
  • Turn south onto East River Rd.
  • Turn east onto E College Drive and rejoin State Hwy. 371 to head south.
  • Travel south on State Hwy. 371 to Co. Hwy. 76 as you enter Little Falls.
  • Drive south on Co. Hwy. 76 to 1st St. NE and take an immediate left onto 4th St. NE.
  • Drive south on 4th St. NE to State Hwy. 27/Broadway Ave.
  • Drive west on State Hwy. 27/Broadway Ave. across the river to Co. Hwy. 52/Lindbergh Dr.

Scenic Mississippi River Region - Little Falls to Elk River (92 miles)

Little Falls to St. Cloud (42 miles)

  • Continue on Morrison Co. Rd. 52 to Co. Rd. 224/Great River Road.
  • Take Co. Rd. 224/Great River Road south to Co. Hwy. 25.
  • Take Co. Rd. 25 southeast to Co. Rd. 21.
  • At the Sterns County line the road becomes Sterns Co. Rd. 1.
  • Continue on Co. Rd. 1 to Sartell, then take Co. Rd. 78 over the river bridge to Benton Co. Rd. 33 (Benton Drive).
  • Head south on Co. Rd. 33 to the Sartell/Sauk Rapids city line.
  • Continue on Benton Co. Rd. 33 to First Street South, then over the Mississippi River to Stearns Co. Rd. 1 (9th Avenue North) in St. Cloud.
  • Head south on 9th Avenue North to 9th Avenue south (Clearwater Road/Sterns Co. R. 7).
  • Continue south to Stearns Co. Rd. 75.

St. Cloud to Elk River (50 miles)

  • Continue southeast on Stearns Co. Rd. 75 to the Wright County line, where the route becomes Wright Co. Rd. 75.
  • Follow this south to Wright Co. Rd. 39 in Monticello.
  • Continue east on Wright Co. Rd. 39 into Elk River.

Metro Mississippi River Region - Elk River to Hastings (75 miles)

Elk River to Downtown Minneapolis (28 miles)

  • The Great River Road continues past Elk River east on Wright Co. Rd. 39 to MN 101, then south to Wright Co. Rd. 42, then east to the Hennepin County line (Co. Rd. 12).
  • Go south on Co. Rd. 12.
  • Across the Mississippi River from Anoka, head southeast along Hennepin Co. Rd. 12 (West River Road) to 97th Avenue.
  • Head east briefly on 97th Avenue to West River Road, then southeast to Brookdale Drive.
  • Go west on Brookdale Drive to Minnesota Highway 252.
  • Go south on MN 252 to I-694.
  • Cross the Mississippi River on I-694.
  • Take East River Road (Anoka Co. Rd. 1) to the Anoka-Hennepin County line (the road becomes Hennepin Co. Rd. 23/Marshall Street) at the north edge of Minneapolis.
  • Continue along Marshall Street to Broadway Avenue (Hennepin Co. Rd. 66) and head west on Broadway to West River Parkway.

Downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul (12 miles)

  • Take West River Parkway south to Godfrey Parkway. Look for the entrance to Minnehaha Park.
  • Follow Godfrey Parkway to the roundabout in front of the Longfellow House.
  • Turn right onto Minnehaha Avenue (one block), left onto 46th Street East (one block), then left (south) onto MN 55, where you will head southeast toward the Hennepin-Dakota County line (at the Minnesota/Mississippi River confluence).
  • At the Dakota County line, take Minnesota Highway 13 (Sibley Memorial Highway) northeast to Interstate Highway 35E.
  • Take I-35E north.
  • Turn right on West 7th Street.
  • Turn right on Randolf Avenue to Shepard Road, then turn left.
  • Continue along Shepard Road, which becomes Warner Road (Ramsey Co. Rd. 36).

From Downtown St. Paul to Hastings (26 miles)

  • From Warner Road, take U.S. 61/10 south to I-494 west, which crosses the river.
  • Exit south on Minnesota Highway 56, then turn east on Minnesota Highway 55 toward Hastings.
  • Take Dakota Co. Rd. 42 northeast to U.S. 61/10.
  • Turn south on U.S. 61 through Hastings (At this point, and throughout the remainder of your byway journey to the Iowa border, you will notice that the Great River Road signs all say "State Route." This is because the national 10-state route continues on from Hastings into Wisconsin, following the river on its eastern shoreline.)

Mississippi River Bluffs Region - Hastings to Iowa Border (140 miles)

  • Follow U.S. 61 south all the way to LaCrescent.
  • From LaCrescent, the Minnesota Great River Road travels south on MN 16 and MN 26, ending at the Iowa border.

Wisconsin Section

From Prescott to La Crosse (120 miles)

  • Beginning in Prescott, follow WI 35, passing through the towns of Diamond Bluff, Hager City, Bay City, Maiden Rock, Stockholm, Pepin, Alma, Cochrane, and Fountain City before arriving in Centerville.
  • In Centerville, turn south to continue along WI 35 through Trempealeau and Holmen.
  • At the junction of I-90 and WI 35, US 53 merges with WI 35.
  • Continue straight along US 53.
  • US 53 becomes 3rd St. North, then merges with US 61/US 14 before merging again with WI 35.
  • Continue on WI 35 as US 61/ US 14 split to the west near the La Crosse city limits.

From La Crosse to Potosi (104 miles)

  • Continue along WI 35, passing through the towns of Stoddard, Ferryville, and Prairie Du Chien, where WI 35 merges with US 18.
  • Continue south on WI 35 towards Bloomington,
  • Turn right onto WI 133.
  • Continue on WI 133 through Cassville to Potosi.

From Potosi to Illinois Border (18 miles)

  • Continue east on WI 133.
  • Turn right onto US 61/WI 35 and continue through Dickeyville to its junction with US 151.
  • Merge onto US 151 S.
  • Take Exit 1 and head east on WI 11.
  • Turn south on WI 35 and continue to the Wisconsin-Illinois border.

Iowa Section

From Minnesota State Line to Harpers Ferry (26 miles)

  • Heading south from Minnesota's Great River Road, cross over into Iowa and travel on IA 26 until you reach the city of Lansing.
  • In Lansing, turn left onto IA 9, then an immediate right onto N Front St.
  • Continue on N Front St, which becomes Co. Rd. X52, to Harpers Ferry.
  • Turn left onto Winfield Rd. in Harpers Ferry, which becomes N 1st St.
  • Turn right on Chestnut St., then left on IA 364.

From Harpers Ferry to Dubuque (74 miles)

  • From Harpers Ferry, travel on IA 364 through Yellow River State Forest until the road joins with IA 76 S.
  • Take IA 76 S through Marquette.
  • In McGregor, turn left on A Walton St./Co. Rd. X56.
  • Continue on Co. Rd. X56 into Guttenberg, where you turn south onto N 5th St.
  • Turn right on Co. Rd. X56, then immediately left onto US 52.
  • Continue on US 52 across the Turkey River, then turn left on Co. Rd. C9Y.
  • Follow Co. Rd. C9Y, which merges with Co. Rd. C63, to Balltown.
  • Take Balltown Rd. to Sherril, and take a left on Circle Ridge Rd.
  • Follow Circle Ridge Rd., which runs into Mud Lake Rd. S.
  • From Mud Lake Rd. S, turn left on Sherrill Rd., then another left on US 52.
  • Continue on US 52, into Dubuque, to its merger with US 151.

From Dubuque to Davenport (98 miles)

  • From the city of Dubuque, follow US 52 through St. Donatus to Bellevue to Sabula.
  • As drivers continue on US 52, they will pass Bellevue State Park and reach the community of Sabula.
  • From Sabula, take US 67 through Clinton, Le Claire, and Bettendorf to Davenport.
  • In Davenport, follow US 67 to Centennial Bridge.

From Davenport to Burlington (78 miles)

  • From Centennial Bridge in Davenport, take US 61 to IA 22 S.
  • Head south on IA 22 through Buffalo, Montpelier, and Fairport to Muscatine.
  • In Muscatine, turn left on US 61.
  • Continue on US 61, then turn left onto Oregon Street, which becomes Co. Rd. X61.
  • Continue on Co. Rd. X61 past Port Louisa, then turn left onto E Ave., which soon merges again with Co. Rd. X61.
  • Turn left onto Co. Rd. 99
  • Follow Co. Rd. 99 all the way to Burlington, where the road becomes Main St..

From Burlington to Keokuk and the Missouri Border (46 miles)

  • From Burlington, follow Main Street to Madison Rd., then turn left.
  • Turn left onto Co. Rd. X62, and continue to US 61.
  • Take US Highway 61 S/354th Ave. to Fort Madison.
  • From Fort Madison, continue on US 61 to the junction with the Mississippi River Rd.
  • Take Mississippi River Rd. as it turns into S 1st St., Water St., Elm St., and Co. Rd. X28.
  • Follow Co. Rd. X28 south along the river to the city of Keokuk, where it becomes N 5th St.
  • Turn right onto Main St. and then left onto US 136.
  • Continue on US 136 to the Iowa-Missouri border

Illinois Section

The Great River Road in Illinois covers the entire west edge of the state.

Dubuque to Rock Island (102 miles)

The byway starts on US 20 at the Julien Dubuque Bridge west of East Dubuque, IL.

  • Follow US 20 through East Dubuque and, as it merges with IL 84, Galena towards Elizabeth.
  • Turn south (right) onto IL 84 a few miles before Elizabeth.
  • Follow IL 84 through Hanover, Savanna, Thompson, Fulton, Albany, and Cordova to Rapid City.
  • From Rapid City, follow IL 84, under I-80, to its intersection with IL 92 in East Moline.
  • Turn west (right) onto IL 92 through Moline to its merger with US 67 in Rock Island.

Rock Island to Keithsburg (55 miles)

  • Continue on IL 92 south east out of Rock Island and past the junction with I-280.
  • Turn west (right) onto IL 92/78th Ave West.
  • Follow IL 92 towards Illinois City.
  • After Illinois City, turn south (left) onto 322nd St./New Boston Rd.
  • Follow 322nd St. which becomes 45th St./Co. Rd. 14.
  • Turn east (left) onto Swedtown Rd. to its T intersection with IL 17.
  • Turn east (left) onto IL 17, then south (right) onto Keithsburg Rd.
  • Follow Keithsburg Rd. into Keithsburg.

Keithsburg to Lomax (35 miles)

  • Once in Keithsburg turn east (left) on Jackson St., then south (right) on 10th St.
  • Follow 10th St. out of Keithsburg as it becomes Co. Rd. 25/Keithsburg Rd. then 62nd St./Co. Rd. 3.
  • Follow Co. Rd. 3 to its intersection with IL 164 outside of Oquawka.
  • Turn west (right) on IL 164 and follow it into Oquawka.
  • Turn south (left) on 8th St./IL 164.
  • Follow IL 164 through Gladstone to US 34.
  • Turn west (right) on US 34 and follow it towards Gulf Port.
  • Turn south (left) on 700 E/Carman Rd./ IL 522 and follow it to Lomax.

Lomax to Quincy (68 miles)

  • In Lomax, turn southwest (right) on IL 96/2nd St.
  • Follow IL 96 through Dallas City, Niota, and Nauvoo to Hamilton.
  • Turn east (left) onto US 136/IL 96 then south (right) on IL 96.
  • Follow IL 96 through Lima, Marcelline, and Ursa to its merger with US 24.
  • Continue on US 24 into Quincy.

Quincy to Kampsville (68 miles)

  • In Quincy, follow US 24 to its intersection with IL104.
  • Continue straight on IL 57/ 3rd St.
  • Follow IL 57 through Marblehead to its junction with I-172.
  • Continue under I-172 on E 1083rd Ln. to IL 96.
  • Turn south (right) on IL 96, then east (left) on IL 96/IL 106 towards Kinderhook.
  • In Kinderhook, turn south (right) on IL 96.
  • Follow IL 96 through New Canton, Rockport, Atlas, and Pleasant Hall to Kampsville.

Kampsville to Granite City (64 miles)

This section is not a designated part of the Great River Road, but bridges the gap between two designated sections.

  • In Kampsville, turn south (right) onto IL 100.
  • Follow IL 100 through Hardin, Grafton, and Elsah into Alton.
  • Merge with US 67/Landmarks Blvd., then continue straight onto IL 143
  • Follow IL 143 to IL 3 and turn south (right).
  • Follow IL 3 into Granite City.

Granite City to Waterloo (30 miles)

  • The byway starts up again at the intersection of IL 3 at Niedringhaus Ave.
  • Follow IL 3 through Brooklyn and into East Saint Louis.
  • Merge onto I-70 then immediately exit at Exit 1 onto IL 3.
  • Continue on IL 3 through Cahokia and merge onto I-255
  • This designated section of the Great River Road ends before IL 3 exits I-255, but picks up again in Waterloo.
  • Exit I-255 onto IL 3 and follow IL 3 into Waterloo.
  • In Waterloo, turn east (right) onto IL 156, then immediately south (left) onto Lakewater Dr.

Waterloo to State Border (134 miles)

At this point, the final designated section of the Illinois Great River Road begins.

  • Continue on Lakewater Dr out of Waterloo, where it becomes Co. Rd. 7/ Maeystown Rd, through Maeystown.
  • Turn southeast (left) onto Co. Rd. 1857/ Co. Rd. 3/ Bluff Rd.
  • Follow Co. Rd. 3, which becomes Co. Rd. 7, into Prairie Du Rocher.
  • In Prairie Du Rocher, turn south (right) onto Henry St./IL 155, then bear left onto Market St.
  • Bear left again onto Bluff Rd./Market St./ Co. Rd. 7.
  • Continue on Bluff Rd./Co. Rd. 7 to its intersection with IL 3 just outside of Ellis Grove.
  • Turn south (right) onto IL 3, and follow it through Ellis Grove, Chester, Grand Tower, McClure, Thebes, and into Cairo, where it becomes US 51.
  • Follow US 51 out of Cairo, then turn east (left) onto US 51/US 60 to the Illinois-Kentucky state border, where the Illinois section of the Great River Road ends.

Missouri Section

The Missouri section of the Great River Road is known as the Little Dixie Highway of the Great River Road. The byway begins on MO 79 at the Ralls-Pike county line 15 miles south of Hannibal.

Ralls-Pike County Line to Clarksville (29 miles)

  • From the beginning of the byway, follow MO 79 to the town of Louisiana.
  • Once in Louisiana, turn east (left) onto US 54, then south (right) onto MO 79/ 3rd St.
  • Continue on MO 79 into Clarksville, where the Little Dixie Highway ends at the intersection of MO 79 and Howard St.

Kentucky Section

Kentucky-Illinois Border to Columbus (24 miles)

  • From the Kentucky-Illinois border on US 51, follow US 51 to Wickliffe.
  • In Wickliffe, turn right onto 4th St./US 51/US 62.
  • Follow US 51/US62 south towards Bardwell.
  • Before reaching Bardwell, turn right onto KY 1203.
  • Follow KY 1203 to its T intersection with KY 123.
  • Continue on Ky 123 into Columbus.

Columbus to Kentucky-Tennessee Border (39 miles)

  • Follow KY 123 south out of Columbus towards Clinton.
  • Just before Clinton, turn right onto KY 239
  • Continue south on KY 239 to its intersection with KY 94.
  • Turn left onto KY-94, then follow it through Hickman to the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

Tennessee Section

The Tennessee Great River Road goes from the Tennessee/Kentucky state line, through Phillippy, Tiptonville, Ridgely, Hales Point, Halls, Ripley, Covington. and Millington. It ends at the Tennessee/Mississippi state line. The route consists of five segments on the east side of the Mississippi River. The routes between the segments are not included in the byway designation. They are listed here to provide a continuous driving experience.

Tennessee-Kentucky State Border to Tiptonville (12 miles)

  • Start at the state line, at the intersection of TN-78 and Tennessee Rd.
  • Drive southwest on TN 78 until you get to Tiptonville.
  • In Tiptonville, turn west (right) onto TN 21/Church St.
  • Continue to the end of Church St.

Undesignated: Tiptonville to Cottonwood Grove (13 miles)

  • Turn south and continue on Tiptonville-Obion Levee Rd.
  • Continue to TN 181 in Cottonwood Grove just past the intersection with TN-79.
  • The byway designation resumes at this point.

Cottonwood Grove to Golddust (68 miles)

  • Follow TN 181 past to Boothspoint and Moss Island State Wildlife Management Area.
  • Turn east onto TN 88 towards Halls.
  • Just before Halls, turn south onto US 51.
  • Follow US 51 to Ripley.
  • North of Ripley, turn west onto TN 19.
  • Follow TN 19 through Arp and past Johnson Lake to it's intersection with Four Mile Ln.

Undesignated: Four Mile Lane (3.2 miles)

  • Go south on Four Mile Lane.
  • The byway designation begins again at the intersection of Four Mile Lane and Crutcher Lake Rd..

Crutcher Lake to Richardson Landing (48 miles)

  • Go southeast on Crutcher Lake Rd.
  • Turn east on SR 87 and head for Henning.
  • At Henning turn south on US 51.
  • Take US 51 south to Covington.
  • In Covington, turn west onto TN 59.
  • Continue on SR 59 west to its intersection with Richardson Landing Rd.

Undesignated: Richardson Landing to Locke (16 miles)

  • Go south on Richardson Landing Rd. to Tower Heights.
  • Turn right onto Pryor Rd, which becomes Herring Hill Road.
  • Continue on Herring Hill Rd., which becomes Cuba Millington Rd., then Woodstock Cuba Rd., then Locke Cuba Rd.
  • Continue on Locke Cuba Rd. to its intersection with TN 388/Watkins Rd., where the byways designation begins again.

Locke to Whitney Ave., Memphis (9 miles)

  • Take TN 388/Watkins Rd. south toward Memphis.
  • Continue south on past Firestone Park on the left.
  • Turn south on US 51/Thomas St. and continue to its intersection with Whitney Ave.

Undesignated: Whitney Ave. to TN 14 (6 miles)

  • Turn west on Whitney Ave., which becomes 2nd St.
  • At the airport, continue south on 2nd St.
  • Follow 2nd St. passing under I-40.
  • Continue on Island Dr. south along the riverside.
  • Turn east on East G E Patterson Ave./ US 64 and immediately turn south on 3rd St./US 64/ TN 14.
  • The byway designation begins again at this point.

TN-14 to the Tennessee-Mississippi State Border (11 miles)

  • Turn south onto TN 14/US 64.
  • Continue south on TN 14 as it merges with US 61.
  • The Tennessee Great River Road ends at the Tennessee-Mississippi border.

Arkansas Section

Arkansas-Missouri State Line to West Memphis (70 miles)

  • The byway starts at the Concrete Arch that spans U.S. Hwy 61 at the state line of Arkansas and Missouri.
  • Follow US 61 through Blytheville, Luxora, Osceola, and Wilson to its junction with I-55.
  • Turn southeast (right) onto AR 77.
  • Follow AR 77 through Marion to its intersection with US 70 in West Memphis.

First Spur (13 miles)

  • Drive east on U.S. Hwy 70/E Broadway to I-55.
  • Continue east on I-55 to the state line of Arkansas and Tennessee west of Memphis, TN.
  • Return to the junction of AR 77/N Missouri St and U.S. Hwy 70/E Broadway in West Memphis.

West Memphis to Elaine (104 miles)

  • Drive west on US 70/W Broadway to AR 147.
  • Turn south (left) on AR 147 to AR 38 near Horseshoe Lake.
  • Turn west (right) on AR 38 and follow it into Hughes.
  • In Hughes, turn southwest on US 79/Broadway St.
  • Continue on US 79 towards Marianna.
  • In Marianna, turn east (left) onto AR 1/W Chestnut St.
  • Turn south (right) onto S Poplar St., then east (left) on AR 44/Martin Luther King Dr.
  • Follow AR 44 to Bear Creek Lake, and turn south (right) onto Co. Rd. 239.
  • Continue south on Co. Rd. 221
  • Turn east (left) onto Co. Rd. 217.
  • At Storm Creek Lake, turn south (left) on Co. Rd. 215, then south (right) again onto Co. Rd. 239.
  • Continue on Co. Rd. 239, which becomes first Sterling Rd. then Holly St. once it enters Helena.
  • Turn west (right) on Miller St., then left on Columbia St., which becomes Biscoe St. as it leaves Helena.
  • Continue south, merging briefly onto US 49 before turning south (right) onto AR 44.
  • Follow AR 44 into Elaine.

Elaine to Back Gate (71 miles)

  • In Elaine, turn west (right) onto AR 20/Main St
  • Continue on AR 20 to AR 318 and turn north (right).
  • Turn west (left) onto AR 316 and continue to AR 1.
  • Drive southwest on AR 1 through St. Charles, De Witt and Gillette.
  • Continue on AR 1/US165 to Black Gate.

East Loop to McGehee (43 miles)

  • From Back Gate, drive east on AR 1 to AR 4.
  • Drive east on AR 4 to US 278/US 65 in McGehee.

West Loop to McGehee(27 miles)

  • From Back Gate, drive southwest on US 165/AR 54 to US 165/US 65 in Dumas.
  • Follow US 165/US 65 south to its intersection with AR 4 in McGehee.

McGehee to Arkansas-Louisiana Border (45 miles)

  • Drive south on US 278/US 65 through Lake Village.
  • Turn south (right) onto US 65 and continue through Eudora to the Arkansas-Louisiana state border.

Second Spur (18 miles)

  • South of Lake Village, continue on US 278/US 82 instead of turning south onto US 65.
  • Continue on US 278/US 82 to the Arkansas-Mississippi state border.
  • Turn around and return to the junction of US 278/US 82 and US 65.

Mississippi Section

Upper Mississippi

Mississippi-Tennessee Border to MS 1 (52 miles)

  • From the border of Mississippi and Tennessee, drive southwest on US 61.
  • Turn west (right) onto MS 161.
  • Turn west (right) onto 2nd St.
  • Turn south (left) onto Railroad Ave.
  • Turn west (right) almost immediately on Old Highway 61.
  • Follow Old Highway 61 going south through Robinsonville, Bowdre, Hollywood, North Tunica, Tunica, Evansville, Dundee, and into Lula.
  • In Lula, Old Highway 61 becomes Front Ave.
  • Follow Front Ave through Lula and turn west (right) onto Lula Moon Lake Rd.
  • Turn south (left) onto Moon Lake Rd.
  • Turn northwest (right) onto US 49.
  • Follow US 49 a few miles to its intersection with MS 1 and turn south (left).

Lower Mississippi

MS 1 to Vicksburg (191 miles)

  • Follow MS 1 south through the towns of Gunnison, Rosedale, Beulah, Benoit, and into Greenville.
  • Continue on MS 1 through Greenville as it becomes Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
  • Stay on MS 1 out of Greenville through Mayersville towards Vicksburg until it intersects with US 61.
  • Turn south (right) onto US 61.
  • Just north of Vicksburg turn southwest (right) onto US 61/ N Washington St.
  • Travel on N Washington Street to downtown Vicksburg.
  • Continue traveling on Washington Street as it merges into Warrington Road.
  • Travel Warrington Road to US 61 just south of Vicksburg.

Vicksburg to Port Gibson (39 miles)

  • Continue on US 61 south towards Port Gibson.
  • At Grand Gulf Road, travel west to Grand Gulf Military Park.
  • Return on Grand Gulf Road to US 61.
  • Travel south on US Highway 61 to Port Gibson.
  • In Port Gibson, turn west (right) onto Old Mill Rd.
  • Turn south (left) onto Flower St. and follow to its intersection with Rodney Rd.

Port Gibson to Natchez (47-58 miles)

  • At this point the byway makes a loop, giving an option to continue on US 61 south or to turn west onto Rodney Rd.
  • Continue south on US 61 towards Natchez.
  • OR, turn west (right) onto Rodney Rd., which becomes MS 552, travels by Alcorn State University, and merges again with US 61.
  • Follow US 61 south towards Natchez.
  • US 61 merges with US 84/US 98 just northeast of Natchez.
  • In Natchez, turn south (left) onto US 84/ Sgt. Prentiss Dr.
  • At this intersection of US 84 and US 425, turn northwest (right) onto US 425/ John R Junkin Dr.
  • Follow US 425/John R Junkin Dr. to the Mississippi-Louisiana border, then return to the intersection.
  • Turn south (right) onto US 61 and follow it out of Natchez.

Natchez to Mississippi-Louisiana State Border (42 miles)

  • Take US 61 out of Natchez.
  • Travel south on US Highway 61 through Woodville to the Louisiana state line. This terminates the Lower Mississippi Section of the Great River Road.

Louisiana Section

The Great River Road in Louisiana starts at the border of Arkansas and Louisiana. It travels south in Louisiana along the border between Louisiana and Mississippi on the west side of the Mississippi River.

At Louisiana's "ankle bend" (at the southwest corner of Mississippi), the route splits into two parallel roads on both sides of the Mississippi. The east side of the Great River Road in Louisiana is connected to the Great River Road in Mississippi.

At that point, the Great River Road is wholly in Louisiana, and traverses both sides of the Mississippi River southeast through Baton Route and New Orleans. The west side ends at Venice in Louisiana's "toe". The east side ends a few miles short of the west side, in Diamond.

In addition, the byway includes several Mississippi River access spurs and crossings as part of its official route.

Driving the West Side in Louisiana

Louisiana-Arkansas State Border to Vidalia (155 miles)

  • Beginning at the Louisiana-Arkansas state border, drive south on US 65.
  • Continue south on US 65 through Lake Providence towards Tallulah
  • Just south of Tallulah merge onto I-20 east towards Mississippi.
  • Follow I-20 to the Louisiana-Mississippi state border, then return to the I-20/US 65 junction.
  • Continue south on US 65 past Newellton, Waterproof, and into Clayton.
  • In Clayton, take US-425 south through Ferriday and into Vidalia.
  • In Ferriday, US-425/LA-15 will change to US-425/LA-84.
  • Continue south on US-425/LA-84 to Vidalia.
  • Here you can choose to continue east on US 425 toward Natchez, Mississippi for the second river crossing.
  • Otherwise, turn south on LA 131 in Vidalia.

Vidalia to Port Allen (140 miles)

  • In Vidalia, take LA-131/Martin Luther King Ave. south until it joins LA 15.
  • Take LA 15 south.
  • As you approach Lettsworth, the byway merges into LA-1.
  • Continue southeast on LA-1 through Morganza.
  • In Lebarre, turn north (left) onto LA 420/Pointe Coupee Rd.
  • Take LA 420 east to the intersection with New Roads/Francisville ferry boat crossing.
  • Take the New Roads/Francisville ferry north over the Mississippi River to join the east side of the Great River Road.
  • Otherwise, continue east on LA 981 round this bend of the Mississippi River.
  • At Waterloo, take LA 415 west around another river bend. LA 415 becomes False River Rd. as it rounds the bend.
  • Continue east as the road becomes LA 416.
  • In Hermitage, turn southeast (right) onto LA 415/ N River Rd.
  • Follow LA 415/N River Rd. south as it winds alongside the river. LA 415 becomes LA 986.
  • Continue on LA 986/N River Rd. to its intersection with US 190.
  • The fourth river crossing on US 190 leads to Baton Rouge and the east side of the Great River Road.
  • Otherwise, continue south on LA 986 toward Port Allen.
  • In Port Allen, turn south (left) onto N Jefferson Ave.
  • Turn east (left) onto Court St.
  • Turn south (right) onto S River Rd.
  • Turn west (right) onto Oaks Ave.
  • Turn south (left) onto LA 1 to leave Port Allen.

Port Allen to Donaldsonville (47 miles)

  • Stay on LA-1 going south.
  • Turn east (left) onto LA 988/Beaulieu Road.
  • Follow LA 988 to Plaquemine.
  • In Plaquemine, turn southwest (right) on Jacob Street.
  • Turn west (right) onto Laville Street.
  • Turn south (left) to rejoin LA 1.
  • Follow LA-1 through Plaquemine until you reach LA-75.
  • Turn northeast (left) on LA 75 and go straight one block where it joins LA 405 and leads to the Plaquemine Ferry Crossing.
  • Take the Plaquemine-Sunshine Ferry for the fifth river crossing to join the east side of the Great River Road.
  • Otherwise, continue southeast on LA 405/River Road through White Castle.
  • Just northeast of White Castle is the sixth river crossing: the White Castle Ferry.
  • Otherwise, continue on LA 405 around this bend of the river to rejoin LA 1.
  • Turn east (left) on LA 1 and drive into Donaldsonville.

Donaldsonville to Gretna (79 miles)

  • In Donaldsonville, turn north (left) on LA 18.
  • At LA 70, turn east (left) for the seventh river crossing.
  • Otherwise, stay on LA-18 for several bends of the river to LA 3213 in Wallace.
  • Here, the Gramercy (Veterans Memorial) Bridge is the eighth river crossing.
  • Otherwise, continue east on LA 18 for several more turns of the river.
  • Near Bridge City, turn north (left) onto LA 541/River Road.
  • Continue on LA 541, which turns sharply south and intersects with 4th St./LA 18 near Harvey.
  • Turn east (left) onto 4th St./LA 18.
  • Turn south (right) onto Huey P. Long Ave. in Gretna, then immediately east (left) onto 5th St.
  • Turn south (right) onto Lafayette St./LA 18.
  • Merge onto US 90 and follow it across the Mississippi River into New Orleans. for the ninth river crossing.
  • Otherwise, continue south on LA 18, which here becomes LA 23.

Gretna to Venice (73 miles)

  • Take LA 23 south to Belle Chasse.
  • Here take the Belle Chasse Ferry across the river for the tenth river crossing.
  • Otherwise, continue south on LA 23 to West Pointe a La Hache.
  • Take the Pointe a La Hache Ferry for the eleventh river crossing.
  • Otherwise, continue south on LA 23 to Venice, where the west side of the Great River Road in Louisiana ends.

Driving the East Side in Louisiana

Louisiana-Mississippi State Border to Baton Rouge (45 miles)

  • Start at the border and drive south on US 61 to St. Francisville
  • South of St. Francisville is the third river crossing. Take the New Roads/Francisville Ferry to join the west side of the Great River Road.
  • Otherwise, continue on US-61 toward Baton Rouge.
  • Merge onto I-110 going east.
  • Go south on I-110 to the interchange with US 190.
  • Take US 190 west across the river for the fourth river crossing.
  • Otherwise you can continue south on I-110 through Baton Rouge.
  • In downtown Baton Rouge, exit onto Capitol Access Road going west.

Baton Rouge to St. Gabriel (32 miles)

  • Turn south (left) on Capitol Access Road past Arsenal Park.
  • Turn east (right) on Spanish Town Rd.
  • Turn north (right) on N 3rd Street.
  • Turn west (left) on State Capitol Drive.
  • Turn south (left) on US 190/River Road.
  • Follow US 190 as it curves east and becomes Government St.
  • Turn south (right) on St. Phillip St.
  • St. Phillip Street changes to LA 30/Nicholson Dr.
  • Continue south on LA 30 through the campus of Louisiana State University.
  • Turn west (right) onto Gourrier Ave.
  • Turn south on LA 327 River Road.
  • Continue south around several curves alongside the river on LA 327/River Road.
  • Where LA 327 splits from LA 991, continue west on LA 991 to the Plaquemine-Sunshine Ferry Crossing.
  • Take the ferry for the fourth river crossing.
  • Otherwise, continue following LA 991/River Road south which becomes LA 75.
  • Continue following the curves of the river on LA 75 to St. Gabriel.

St. Gabriel to Gramercy (50 miles)

  • In St. Gabriel, follow LA 75 southeast to the junction with LA 141.
  • Turn west (right) onto LA 141/Point Clair Rd.
  • Follow LA 141 south and then east to Carville.
  • Here take the White Castle Ferry for the fifth river crossing.
  • Otherwise, continue on LA 141 through Carville, where it becomes LA 75.
  • Continue on LA 75 to Darrow where it becomes LA 942.
  • At Burnside, merge with LA 44 going southeast.
  • Continue on LA 44 south to the junction with LA 70.
  • Here, cross the river on the Sunshine Bridge for the seventh river crossing.
  • Otherwise, stay on LA-44 going southeast around several bends of the river to the intersection with LA-3213 in Gramercy, where you can choose to cross the river for the eighth river crossing.

Gramercy to French Quarter, New Orleans (55 miles)

  • Continue on LA 44 east to Laplace, where it becomes LA 636.
  • South of Garyville and LaPlace, take Cardinal St. northeast.
  • Turn southeast (right) on LA 628/E 5th St.
  • Continue south on LA 628 through Montz, then north to its intersection with US 61.
  • Turn southeast (right) onto U.S. Highway 61.
  • In Norco, turn south on LA 48/Apple Street.
  • Turn east (left) on LA 48/River Road.
  • Continue on LA 48 past the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport toward New Orleans.
  • In Harahan, turn south (right) onto Hickory Ave., then left onto River Rd. which merges with LA 611.
  • Follow LA 611 around the bend, then bear south (right) onto Leake Ave.
  • Turn east (left) onto St. Charles Ave.
  • Follow St. Charles Ave. to its intersection with US 90.
  • Here, take US 90 across the river for the ninth river crossing. *Otherwise, continue to Lee Circle and take the first right on Andrew Higgins.
  • Immediately, turn north (left) onto Camp St., which becomes Chartres St. after it crosses Canal St.
  • Follow Chartres St. into the French Quarter.

New Orleans to the End of the East Side of the Great River Road (48 miles)

  • Continue on Chartres St.
  • Turn north (left) on Elysian Fields Avenue.
  • Turn east (right) on St. Claude Avenue/LA 46.
  • Follow LA 46 to Poydras.
  • In Poydras, turn southwest (right) on LA 39.
  • Follow LA 39 west through Braithwaite to the junction with LA 3137.
  • Bear north (right) onto LA 3137 and follow until it merges again with LA 39.
  • Take the Belle Chasse Ferry for the tenth river crossing.
  • Otherwise, continue on LA 39 south to Pointe a La Hache.
  • Turn southwest (right) on Adema Ln.
  • Turn southeast (left) on LA 15 to the end of the byway at the Pointe a La Hache ferry crossing.
  • Take the ferry across the river for the eleventh river crossing and turn south on LA 23 to go to the end of the Great River Road in Venice.