Great River Road Travel Itinerary
Last Updated: 12/8/2014
Scenic Tour Along the Mississippi River
The Great River Road, a designated National Scenic Byway by the Federal Highway Administration, is an enchanting 250-mile drive along the Mississippi River. The road is filled with historic sites, spectacular scenery, delicious food and the engaging hospitality of delightful river towns. The tour traces the Mississippi River from Prescott to Potosi.
Fly in to Minneapolis- St. Paul International Airport. Rent a car and start your adventure in Prescott at the Great River Road Visitor Center. Then follow the Mississippi River south to Stockholm, known for its boutique shops, beautiful gardens and wonderful cafés. Browse the galleries and pay a visit to Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery. Continue the journey south to Pepin, home of “Little House” author, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum or take a sail on Lake Pepin for fantastic views of the area. Spend the night at one of the region’s many bed and breakfasts.
Minneapolis to Stockholm: 70 miles (110 km)
Start the day in Alma and rent a houseboat for overnight accommodations. Experience the beauty and serenity of the Mississippi River Valley aboard a floating lodge at Alma Marina. Visit Lock & Dam #5, a structure that features an unusually long earth embankment that runs more than 18,000 feet. Fish or swim at the many sandy beaches between Alma and La Crosse. Spend the night on your houseboat and watch the sun set over the river.
Stockholm to Alma: 20 miles (30 km)
Great River Road: DAY 3
Drive to La Crosse. Cruise the Mississippi River aboard the La Crosse Queen, a paddlewheel boat. After your cruise, explore the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge or rent bikes in Onalaska and pedal along the Great River State Bike Trail. Visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Spend the night in La Crosse.
Alma to La Crosse: 55 miles (90 km)
Enjoy the scenic views as you pass through numerous historic communities when you drive from La Crosse to Prairie du Chien, one of Wisconsin’s prettiest river towns. Experience Victorian life when you tour Villa Louis, a restored 1870s mansion that once belonged to one of Wisconsin’s most prosperous families. Afterwards, hike the trails at Wyalusing State Park or stop by Mississippi Explorer Cruises to explore the river from the deck of a riverboat. Stay the night in Prairie du Chien.
La Crosse to Prairie du Chien: 60 miles(95 km)
Drive south to make your way back through the state. Tour the Stonefield Historic Site, the home of Wisconsin’s first governor, in Cassville. Eat dinner and take a tour of the National Brewery Museum in Potosi. A popular attraction is the Dickeyville Grotto, a unique series of religious grottosand shrines. Also visit Sinsinawa Mound, which houses a retreat center, bookshop, Fr. Mazzuchelli exhibit, art gallery and sustainable farm. Head to Platteville and hike the world’s largest M – a monogram for the former Wisconsin Mining School. Stay overnight in Platteville or continue south to Illinois’ Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Prairie du Chien to Platteville: 50 miles (80 km)Platteville to Chicago: 180 miles (290 km)