We recommend calling or visiting each website for up-to-date information on hours of operation, etc.
Northern Leg of the Byway
Donny Appleseed Orchard is a 100 acre, third generation farm boasting some of the finest home grown fruits and vegetables, including a 200 tree apple orchard representing 10 varieties. Stop in seasonally for all this plus pumpkins, mums and other treats.
Boggio’s Orchard is a family-owned operation that offers freshly grown and harvested produce and delicious baked goods in the market. The fall brings opportunities for U-pick apples and pumpkins, visits to the petting zoo, journeys through the corn maze, and endless fun on the apple slide, jumping pillow, wagon rides, and more!
Located between Ottawa and LaSalle, Starved Rock State Park 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 waterfalls or ice falls. Fifteen miles of trails traverse old growth forests and sandstone bluffs with an amazing diversity of trees and wildflowers. With a visitor's center, boat launch, kayaking, guided hikes, campground, playground and more, there's no shortage of fall fun to be had.
Approximately 4 miles south of Utica and 3 miles east of Oglesby, Matthiessen State Park is a paradise for those interested in geology. The many unusual and beautiful rock formations in this 1,900 acre park add to its beauty, especially alongside all the changing colors of autumn.
Central Leg of the Byway
Everything is done by hand at River Hills Farm, from wrapping each pear by hand (to prevent bugs from eating the fruit), to hand-picking, and finally to boxing. They also offer pick-your-own pears beginning October 1.
Just north of Peoria, Tanners Orchard is a family destination with a bakery serving famous apple cider donuts and homemade fudge along with fresh baked pies and breads. It also hosts large country farm market, wagon rides to the orchard for pick your own apples and pumpkins, a corn maze and the Back 40 Fun Acres with farm animals.
In 1910, President Teddy Roosevelt visited Grandview Drive where he described it as “the world’s most beautiful drive”. The almost 3-mile drive winds through one of the areas most historic neighborhoods while on top of a bluff that overlooks the Illinois River. There are plenty of places to pull-off that allows for a great place to have a fall picnic or take a few panoramic snaps of the hillside’s fall foliage and the river below. At the north end, hikers looking for a moderate trek can follow the 1.25-mile Pimiteoui Trail out to Forest Park Nature Center.
At Tower Park, glide 200 feet to the top of the tower in an enclosed glass elevator to "View the Wonder" for many miles of the Illinois River Valley. On top of 500,000 gallons of clean, pure well water, there are three separate observation decks designed to provide a spectacular panorama in all directions or use one of three telescopes available for even closer viewing.
Fondulac Drive Lookout Point in East Peoria boasts panoramic views across the Illinois River, from Glen Oak Park and Springdale Cemetery in Peoria to Tower Park in Peoria Heights. Fondulac Drive and Highview Road atop the bluffs also offer multiple glimpses of the wooded valley.
Southern Leg of the Byway
Fulton County is home to Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive Fall Festival, one of the largest festivals in the state. This annual event held on the first two full weekends in October, attracts visitors from all over the Midwest for fall scenery, arts, crafts, music, food, produce, historic sites, museums, old-time farming, collectibles, and antiques.