Great River Road - Kentucky

Department of Transportation.

The Mississippi River is a highway of history carrying people, cultures, ideas, art, and music. Kentucky’s part of this highway begins where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers converge. The history that attracts visitors to the Great River Road today is a product of this extraordinary river and the landscape it has sculpted over time. Kentucky’s Great River Road challenges visitors to travel back in time to a place where the great Mississippian Native American culture used the river as a corridor for trade. The confluence is not just a scenic feature; it occupies a seminal place in America’s history, yet the landscape remains largely the same as it was during western expansion. Travel this byway and enter a time machine while imagining frontiersmen canoeing down uncharted waters, looking for the way west to the Pacific Ocean, but finding instead the way south to the Gulf of Mexico. You will become engaged in the history of America’s efforts to claim, control, and tame its mightiest river, the Mississippi. Stand on the key terrain of the Confederacy’s Fort DeRussey, the south’s northernmost bastion on the Mississippi, and look down your guns at the approach of the soon-to-be tested Union General Ulysses S. Grant. Kentucky’s Great River Road allows you to engage in your own sense of wonder as you discover more of American heritage. Come and explore the tales of Kentucky’s Great River Road.


Getting to the Byway:

Paducah, KY
* Take 32nd St. north to Park Avenue/US 60. * Travel west on US 60 for approximately 30 miles. * Join the byway at US 51 in Wickliffe, KY.

St. Louis, MO
* Proceed east on Spruce Street and take the onramp to I-55 south. * Travel south on I-55 for approximately 142 miles. * Take exit 66A onto I-57 north. * Go 13 miles and take exit 12. * Travel 0.5 miles and turn right on US 60. * Travel 12 miles and turn right on US 51 which take you to Wickliffe Mounds, the northern end of Kentucky's Great River Road.

Navigating the Byway:
##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.

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