|Overview||Commerce and Recreation||Geology||Ecology||Human History|
The Illinois River Valley as it looks today is the result of continual and often dramatic natural changes to the landscape.
Some of the processes that shaped this river and its valley are, literally, as old as the hills. Sandstone and limestone bluffs recall an era, millions of years past, when an ancient sea overspread this region. The Mississippi River once flowed through this valley, before glaciers shifted its course to the west. South of Hennepin, the Illinois River follows the Mississippi's ancient channel. A more recent glacial event sculpted the upper reaches of the Illinois River. Seventeen thousand years ago, glacial meltwaters burst through a rock-earth dam holding back a massive lake, unleashing the Kankakee Torrent, which carved the river valley all the way to Hennepin.
As the glaciers retreated, lichens and plants reinhabited the barren landscape, many of which sprouted from seeds left behind in the glacial deposits. In the 12,000 years since then, rich topsoils accumulated, and complex and varied communities of plants and animals-from lush bottomland hardwood forests and riparian floodplains to tallgrass prairies and woodland spring seeps-have established and flourished here.
The Illinois River Road sites below to enable you to experience how geological transformations have shaped the Illinois River Valley and how, since the end of the Ice Age, dynamic natural communities have become established in the Illinois River Valley.
Illinois Scenic Byways
Illinois River Road Report
Like Us on Facebook
Sign-up for Our E-mail List
Join our e-mail list to receive future specials, events and information about the
Your search generated 18 listing(s).
Just outside of Granville, Illinois in the little community of Mark, Denise and Keith Boggio operate Boggio's Little Mountain Orchard. Both children of produce marketing famil...View Details.
So named because (legend has it) the area once served as a “blind canyon” where Indians ran buffalo for capture, this 298-acre park has long been a natural favorite. Much of B...View Details.
One of the major on-site archeological museums in the country, Dickson Mounds Museum also interprets the ecology of the Illinois River's Emiquon region. The site itself lies w...View Details.
The Donnelley/DePue State Fish and Wildlife Areas complex, home to a $1 million State Duck Stamp Project, is managed primarily for migratory waterfowl. Frank C. Bellerose, wor...View Details.
East Peoria's Riverfront Greenway project is a 1.8-mile walking/hiking trail along the east bank of the Illinois River. Beginning at EastPort Public Boat Ramp, the trail runs ...View Details.
Winding high along the top of one of East Peoria's bluffs is the scenic Fondulac Drive, a three-mile route that is owned and maintained by the Fon du Lac Park District. Nestl...View Details.
Seven miles of hiking trails traverse bluff forestland and a restored prairie through this designated state nature preserve. Over 100 woodland bird species use the park as mig...View Details.
Located across the Illinois River from the town of Marseilles, the 510-acre Illini State Park lies along the northern edge of the “Great Falls” of the river, where a drop in s...View Details.
Jubilee College State Park is a 3,200-acre facility situated in the Illinoisan drift-plan, replete with rolling topography and the meandering Jubilee Creek. Visitors may see d...View Details.
Phone: (309) 446-3758Site Access: free; fee please call ahead before visiting
GPS: 40.81026, -89.81385 Map It!
Established in the late 19th century, the 140-acre Laura Bradley Park is the centerpiece of Peoria's University District. Operated by the Peoria Park District, this large park...View Details.
This 200-acre rare prairie type was donated to the Natural Resources Conservation Service Bureau County District by Mr. and Mrs. J.D. McCune (120-acres) and the University of ...View Details.
12. Robinson ParkMossville Road, Peoria, IL 61603
This wild, undeveloped 680-acre park has several narrow, informal paths that lace the site, along with a substantial segment of the better-developed Pimiteoui Trail. The park...View Details.
Owned and managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the 200-acre Sandy Ford is located on the east bank of the Vermilion River at the western edge of the Farm R...View Details.
Area: StreatorSite Access: free
GPS: 41.19272, -88.90277 Map It!
This small city park is an amazing gem for wildlife of all kinds, but especially birds! The park contains spring-fed creeks, a beautiful sandstone cliff formation with a water...View Details.
Once the main channel of the Illinois River, Spring Lake is now geologically classified as a “meander scar, an abandoned channel of the river. Guarded by a high sandstone bluf...View Details.
In the heart of Springdale Cemetery, one of central Illinois' largest and most historic cemeteries, there is a small remnant of native tallgrass oak savanna. This increasingly...View Details.
Starved Rock is one of the premier natural areas in the Midwest. There are 18 canyons cut by melting glaciers at the end of the ice age. They sparkle seasonally with waterfall...View Details.
18. Warnecke Woods41-1835 North Avenue, Princeton, IL 61356
Warnecke Woods is a 33.5-acre botanical gem that was donated to the Bureau County Natural Resources Conservation Service District in 1984 by Marie Warnecke. Ecologically, the ...View Details.