Situated in the very southern part of the state of Illinois and lying between the Mississippi River and Missouri on the west and the Ohio River and Kentucky on the east, this area is known as the Illinois Ozarks. The terrain here is very hilly with many lakes, bluffs, caves and cypress swamps. The hills and cliff tops provide incredible panoramic views of the area. You'll be traveling along hilly roads with lots of twists and turns. There are beautiful waterfalls along the roadside that you can watch in spring. Some stretches of road are pretty isolated with hardly any amenities available. If you go off into a canyon or wilderness area, make sure you have plenty of gas and drinking water.
Towns/Cities You'll Pass By/Through
This route starts out in Carbondale Illinois, home of the Salukis. Here you can visit the Southern Illinois University. Drive South down Highway 51. About 10 miles south make a side trip to Giant City State Park and take the Giant City hike through giant monolith slabs of limestone and limestone bluffs. If you find yourself in the area on Sunday, be sure to check out the Giant City Lodge. They offer some of the best Chicken Dinners you'll find anywhere. Go back to 51 and head south a few miles to the Cobden turnoff. Turn right to Alto Pass and Highway 127. Drive up to Bald Knob where you'll see Bald Knob Cross, the tallest Cross in the western hemisphere sitting on top of a large hill among the beautiful Illinois Ozarks. The view is astounding. Head South on 127 after Alto Pass and go about 12 miles to Jonesboro. Take a left (west) on Highway 146 through Anna and Vienna past I-24 to highway 147. Follow this through Eddyville, the highway turns into highway 145. When you get to the 145/34 junction, go right or west through Herod. Past Herod there will be a junction in the road toward Karbers Ridge, take this and follow the signs to the Garden of the Gods. Visit the high face shaped cliffs and then follow the road to Highway 1. Go South on 1 until you hit Cave-in-Rock and visit the Cave that robbed many ships. After your visit, go back north a few miles on 1 to pick up 146. Follow 146 through Golconda then take the road south along the Ohio River toward Brookport. There are many marina along the river here. Once in Brookport follow 45 to Metropolis and the Superman Museum. Try you hand at Black Jack or slots on Harrah's River Boat Casino. You can also visit Paducah, Kentucky by crossing the bride on I-24. There are full shopping amenities and restaurants as well as hotels and motels there. Follow 45 out of Metropolis to 169. Turn left or East through Karnak to highway 37. Go North on 37 to Marion. At Marion take highway 13 back to Carbondale.
Attractions & Points-of-Interests Along the Way
There are plenty of attractions and points of interest along this road trip. You can stop along the Ohio River and visit the Cave that robbed many boats. The route will also take you through Metropolis, home of Superman. Here you can visit the Superman museum and also see a large Superman on the town water tower. The Harrah's Casino River Boat is also located in Metropolis. Make sure you don't miss the Garden of the Gods. Here you can watch the locals repel off the rocks. The views are breathtaking and you can see into five states.
Reviewed by BRTP Partners on April 16, 2010 (1 out of 1 members found this review useful.)
Attraction or Point-of-Interest recommendation: Near Giant City Park, in the town of Makanda, take the road straight up the hill passing the church and look for winery direction signs to Blue Sky Winery/Vinyard. We stopped at Blue Sky Vinyard ...quite an operation and facility in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. There are other wineries in southern Illinois as well.
Reviewed by BRTP Partners on April 16, 2010 (0 out of 0 members found this review useful.)
Attraction or Point-of-Interest recommendation: When you make it down to Elizabethtown, you can have lunch; all you can eat fish at the Floating Restaurant on the Ohio River. Great people work there and it was some of the best fish I've ever had!