The backbone of Discover! America's
Great River Road is the amenities survey and accompanying maps
produced by the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission. The original
survey collected details on all public river access points along the Great
River Road, including boat ramps, fisherman parking, public hiking trails,
and public parks. Each volume of DISCOVER!
America's Great River Road updates that data and include private
amenities of interest to the traveler... such as campgrounds, lodging,
marinas, and seasonal attractions along the Mississippi River.
For the first time since publication, Great River Publishing
is making the contents of DISCOVER! America's Great River Road
available online. It is the sponsorship of our advertisers and your
purchases of Great River Road guidebooks and products that makes this online
publication possible. Please visit our sponsors when their offerings seem
useful to you! Putting the contents of Discover! America's Great River
Road online will take time, our hope and expectation is that you will be
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In time, #1 rated www.greatriver.com will include all FIVE volumes of
Discover! America's Great River Road by Pat Middleton:
year we traveled 5,000+ miles along both sides of the Mississippi River. It
was a fabulous trip... in large part due to your
DISCOVER! America's Great
1 Overview: Discover! America's Great River Road : St. Paul, Minnesota,
to Galena, Illinois (The Upper
Mississippi River) Click here for OVERVIEW.
Volume 2: Discover! America's Great River Road :
Dubuque, Iowa, to St. Louis, Missouri (The Middle Mississippi River)
Volume 3: Discover! America's
Great River Road : St. Louis, Missouri to Memphis, Tennessee (The Lower
Volume 4: Discover! America's Great River Road :
Memphis, Tennessee, to Venice, Louisiana (Mississippi River Delta)
Recent Book Review
Volume 5: Discover! America's Great River Road :
Lake Itasca to St. Paul, Minnesota (Mississippi River Headwaters)
Use the Discover! America's Great River Road guidebooks
Detailed maps in each of the guidebooks are based on county road maps
produced by the Department of Transportation in each of the ten states along
the Mississippi River. Because the maps show quite well the less-traveled
county and local roadways, these maps should also be useful to cyclists
interested in getting off the major highways.
The Great River Road is designated on maps and roadside markers by the
green steamboat pilot's wheel. For the most part, you will find all state (STH)
and county highways to be in excellent driving condition. In the event of
high water, traveler caution must be the rule.
The Great River Road Parkway
is a program of highway
improvement along both sides of the Mississippi River, from Lake Itasca to
the Gulf of Mexico. Federally funded scenic easements, roadside parks,
scenic overlooks, off-road parks and forests, points of historical interest,
and other river-oriented facilities have been developed along both sides of
The route followed by the maps and commentary in Volume 1
commences at Prescott, Wisconsin, on STH 35. Volume 2 of Discover!
America's Great River Road continues southward to St. Louis, Missouri.
Volume 3 leads the traveler from St. Louis to Memphis, and Volume
4, from Memphis through the Mississippi River Delta to Venice,
Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico. In Volume 5, the river buff
explores the Headwaters, north of St. Paul to Lake Itasca.
The route followed by the maps and commentary in Volume 1 commences at
Prescott, Wisconsin, on STH 35 and continues south, following a number of
state and county (CTH) to DeSoto, Wisconsin, where the traveler has the
option of continuing on the Wisconsin side or crossing into Iowa on STH 82.
The scenic Iowa route extends south through Harper's Ferry, the Effigy
Mounds National Monument and into McGregor where it crosses the river again
into Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and southward into the historic cities of
Galenia, Illinois and Dubuque, Iowa. Volume 2 of Discover! America's
Great River Road continues southward to St. Louis, Missouri. Volume 3
leads the traveler from St. Louis to Memphis, and Volume 4, from
Memphis through the Mississippi River Delta to Venice, Louisiana, and the
Gulf of Mexico.
Chapters two through eleven each feature on of the counties through which
the Great River Road passes. In most cases, there will be heritage, natural
history and recreational highlights noted in the introductory overview of
the county. The detailed information on each river access, historical
marker, park and village is then consecutively numbered by county to
correspond with the area maps included in the chapter (e.g. TE-3 Trempealeau
I have endeavored to provide information on Bed and Breakfast Inns,
historical, cultural and natural history background on each of the villages,
as well as sites of interest to the traveler. Some background topics are
included in the Table of Contents under the heading of Special Features. I
hope you will also enjoy the special "up close and personal" interviews
labeled TRAVEL INSIGHTS which includes reflections from various persons
whose lives are closely entwined with the river.
There are several points of interest along the Minnesota shore that are
easily accessible by river bridges from the Wisconsin side. Red Wing,
Wabasha, Winona, and La Crescent, Minnesota are included as side trips from
the Wisconsin shore. Similarly, Iowa river villages and towns are noted in
detail for the traveler.
Much has changed since the 1988 introduction of DISCOVER! America's Great
River Road. River casinos continue to come and go (some in the dark of
night!!). Most communities and families have long recovered from the Flood
of 1993. What remains is a new national awareness fo the great asset we as a
country hold in this nationally designated great river road parkway. Tourism
in the valley is at an all time high... yet barely budding. We have much to
be proud of in our Midwestern heritage... old world values, work ethic, and
hospitality to travelers along the river.
Click here to see a
Sample Chapter, Crawford County, Volume I, Ferryville to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
beauty of the Great River Road lies in traveling slowly; stopping to
absorb the view, visiting a fish market, chatting with locals at the cafe.
It is our Rhine River, an Everglades of the north, with a national
treasure of eagles, wildlife, and migrating waterfowl. It is "Little
Italy," Norwegian spoken in the street, and elegant paddlewheelers.
It is my hope that the DISCOVER! America's
Great River Road guidebooks will cause you to pause for a moment to
enjoy an area bounded by, nurtured by, and challenged by a great river.
For in the end, we are all travelers. Only the bluffs and the river are
here to stay.
~ Pat Middleton, author