Standing Up for Illinois - Office of Lt Governor Pat Quinn

Ohio River Scenic Byway Tour

The Ohio River Scenic Byway covers 943 miles of beautiful scenery as it parallels the Ohio River in southern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. This circling and hill-topped road allows travelers panoramic views and historical insight.

Orchards and vineyards can be seen and in some cases toured from the road. Plenty of historic architecture is present in small towns along the byway. Bird watchers marvel at the number of Canada geese and other species of migratory birds viewable from the road. You’ll enjoy the nature carved rocks, cliffs, caves and water passages the Ohio River Scenic Byway tour offers.

Southern Illinois and the Shawnee National Forest are home to the Illinois portion of the Ohio River Scenic Byway. The road covers 188 miles so allow 1-2 days for touring. It cuts through Pulaski, Massac, Pope, Hardin and Gallatin counties.

Their are four Ohio River Scenic byway towns. They are Cave in Rock, Elizabethtown, Rosiclaire and Golconda. The first three towns are represented by the Main Street Community of Hardin County

Start your Ohio River Scenic Byway tour in Cave in Rock. Enjoy a ride on the Shawnee Queen Ferry.

You can also enjoy nearby Cave in Rock State Park, accessible from the byway. Cave in Rock State Park was named after the 55 ft. wide cave that was formed out of limestone rock many years ago. As history tells, the large cave served as a hiding place for pirates looking to loot travelers along the Ohio River. Park amenities include lodging, restaurant and gift shop. Experience breath-taking views of the Ohio River and visit Cave in Rock State Park!

As you leave the Cave in Rock area and travel south on the Ohio River Scenic Byway, visit Tower Rock. Tower Rock offers spectacular views and is the highest point along the river in Illinois. If the nice accommodations at Cave in Rock State Park aren't your fancy, then set-up camp at Tower Rock for the night!

Continue your journey down the byway to the town of Elizabethtown. Here you can view both historic and contemporary architecture at the Rose Hotel (151 Main Street). The Hotel was built in 1812 by early settler James McFarlan and refurbished 6 years ago by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The Rose Hotel is listed on the Federal and State Historical Sites.

A short drive from Elizabethtown is the quaint town of Rosiclare, home to the American Fluorite Museum. Rosiclare was once the largest fluorspar mining community in the nation. The museum sits in the old Rosiclare Lead and Fluorspar Mining Co. building (618-285-3513). You can view old photos and mining equipment as well as learn about this significant state mineral at the museum. Please call for hours of operation.

Just to the southwest of Rosiclare in Pope County is the Main Street town of Golconda. The town sits on the Ohio River Scenic Byway and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Golconda was once a booming economic hub for Ohio River traders and today offers visitors many gift shops, recreational opportunities including eagle watching, fine dining and fantastic views. Complete your tour with a stay in one of the historic Dam Houses.

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Illinois Main Street Calendar

07/25/2008 6:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m.
Summer Sounds Concert Series - Temple Plaza in Downtown Danville
Temple Plaza in Downtown Danville
Join us for the fifth of six concerts for the Downtown Danville Summer Sounds Concert Series. All concerts are free and open to the public. Beverages and food available for purchase. For more info, please visit and
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07/25/2008 6:00 p.m.
Woodstock Sidewalk Sale Days - Throughout Woodstock
Throughout Woodstock
Shop throughout Woodstock for special sales and bargains.
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