Road Trips & Scenic Drives

Ohio River Scenic Byway


Running parallel to the Ohio River, this scenic route rolls through Southern Illinois' Ohio River Valley, offering stunning views of the lush Shawnee National Forest, dotted by quaint river towns chock-full of Civil War history.

This National Scenic Byway follows the Ohio River in southern Illinois for 188 miles, ending at the confluence of the Ohio with the Mississippi River in Cairo, Illinois. The Scenic Byway reflects the culture and history of the rolling, hilly land along the Ohio River Valley in Illinois, passing through the eastern portion of the Shawnee National Forest near recreation areas such as Glen O Jones Lake, an Illinois State Conservation Area, and Garden of the Gods, Rim Rock, Pounds Hollow, and Cave-in-Rock State Park. A drive on the Illinois portion of the Byway at any time of year offers spectacular views of the Ohio from several places, including Golconda and historic Fort Massac State Park, as well as refreshing stops at beautiful recreation areas that promise relaxing moments and exciting adventures. Spring, summer and fall wildflowers grace the woodlands associated with each stop, including breath-taking glimpses of cliffs and unique rock formations. Roadside wildflowers are plentiful and are dominated by dogwood and redbud trees in the spring, garden phlox and tall thoroughwort in the summer, and asters, goldenrods and butterfly milkweed in the fall.

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