9:00 - 0 miles / 0 - 9:00
Fort Defiance State Park
Once labeled as the "park no one wants" by the Chicago Tribune, Fort Defiance has made a miraculous recovery from neglect through the efforts of the citizens of Cairo. Fort Defiance, the Civil War post commanded by General U.S. Grant, was once a Union supply base. The southern terminus of the Illinois section of the Great River Road, Fort Defiance State Historic Site lies at the awesome confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Although they flow down the same channel, the two rivers remain separate, the Ohio blue and the Mississippi a muddy brown for several miles.
10:00 - 7.8 miles / 15 minutes - 10:15
Mound City National Cemetery
Confederate and Union soldiers are buried here. Started in 1864, the cemetery is one of 12 original national cemeteries.
10:30 - 36.7 miles / an hour 13 minutes - 11:43
Metropolis features a 15-foot Superman statue in its town square, using its one-of-a-kind name in its favor. The town of Metropolis makes the most of their associated superhero, naming their local paper "The Planet," a street "Lois Lane," and offering a large "Super Museum," which contains all of the Superman history and other memorabilia of the comic book hero. There are other novelty shops in the Superman Square which cater to their icon, but the most exciting thing that happens in the square every year is the Superman Celebration, which lasts four days in early June.
11:53 - 3.3 miles / 6 minutes - 12:00
Fort Massac State Park
Fort Massac State Park overlooks the Ohio River from the
southern tip of Illinois. This location has been preserved and
maintained since 1908, when it became Illinois' first state
Today, Fort Massac is a captivating reminder of days gone by.
The reconstructed timber fortification (a replica that includes
blockhouses) of one built in 1794 provides a unique hands-on
opportunity to explore our national heritage. A museum presents the
engrossing tale of the fort's history with actual artifacts,
archive photographs, period costumes, and a short interpretive video
presentation. A second fort from 1757, whose outline is based on
archeological digs, was also built.
Actual recreations of pioneer life of the 1700s during the
annual Fort Massac Encampment and several living history weekends
each year bring the past to life, letting you experience it
yourself. With all this, and picnicking, camping, hiking, boating,
and hunting opportunities available in the rest of the 1,450-acre area,
the park is a self-contained family vacation spot.
12:30 - 12.0 miles / 23 minutes - 12:54
A monument to the Native American people who once inhabitated the region.
13:14 - 24.1 miles / 48 minutes - 14:02
It was in Golconda where the Trail of Tears crossed the Ohio River. At the Buel House (certified by the National Park Service as an official Trail of Tears designated site), the Cherokee were offered food and hospitality.
15:02 - 48.3 miles / an hour 36 minutes - 16:39
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee National Forest, with its
unique rock formations has been a popular attraction in
Southeastern Illinois for a long time. One of the first roads in
this region passed through the area running from the salt works at
Equality to the Ohio River. Anvil Rock, then known as Devil's Rock
became one of the first rock formations named in the interior of
Southern Illinois. Today, a paved road off of Karber's Ridge makes
it much easier for visitors to explore Garden of the Gods. A
short-looped trail from the parking lot makes it easy for visitors
to see the main rock formations, including the well-known Camel
Rock. Anvil Rock and other formations can be seen along the trails
in the Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area.
17:39 - 73.7 miles / 2 hours 27 minutes - 9:06
Reitz Home Museum
You begin to feel the luxurious aura of this grand home as you stand at the wrought iron gate--from here the elegant three-story brick facade stares down at you.
Simply step through the solid walnut entryway with its jewel-like leaded glass door panels to begin tasting the opulent lifestyle of a wealthy, late 19th Century family.
The parlor, drawing room, bedrooms, and dining rooms appear much as they did 100 years ago. Authentic period furniture, much of it original, is arranged as if the family will shortly return.
Silk damask-covered walls soar to meet hand-painted ceilings and delicately molded plaster friezes. French gilt chandeliers shine down on one of the home's most beautiful features: the intricately hand-laid wood parquet floors.
Each room displays a different motif. The visual feast continues throughout the house with tiled and marbled fireplaces, wood-paneled hallways in Moorish design, glowing stained-glass windows, and elaborate light fixtures.
10:06 - 262.2 miles / 8 hours 44 minutes - 18:51
The Harrison Tomb in North Bend, Ohio, is a 60-foot marble obelisk in a 14-acre park and pays tribute to William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States. Harrison was sixty-eight years old when he was elected president. During his inaugural address, he caught pneumonia and died one month later on April 4, 1841. Harrison was buried near his wife's home in North Bend.
19:06 - 41.0 miles / an hour 21 minutes - 9:28
Ulysses S. Grant's Birthplace
Ohio is the birthplace and home to the eighteenth president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, on April 27, 1822, to Jesse and Hannah Grant. The Grant family moved a year later to live in Georgetown, Ohio, where young Grant spent his youth and attended school.
The Grant Birthplace is restored and open to the public. The
three-room frame cottage in which Grant was born has been furnished
with period items in the living, dining, and kitchen areas. At one
time, the cottage was shipped around the United States on a
railroad flat car during a tour. It was also displayed at the Ohio
State Fairgrounds in Columbus.
9:43 - 376.1 miles / 12 hours 32 minutes - 11:15
Old Fort Steuben Reconstruction (1787)
This fort was built shortly after the Revolution for the protection of surveyors of the Northwest Territory. It is 200 feet by 200 feet and had an encampment of more than 150 officers and men. It has been fully restored and the buildings, which include quarters, a hospital, and a gun shop, host reenactments, demonstrations, and tours. Archaeologists have recovered all kinds of items from the grounds, such as buttons and clay pipes.
13:15 - 29.1 miles / 58 minutes - 14:13
Ohio River Scenic Byway - end