Plan an Eagle-Watching Trip in the Great Rivers & Routes Region

The Great Rivers & Routes region in southwest Illinois is the perfect place for a multiple day eagle-watching trip, especially during the magnificent American Bald Eagle migration, which begins when the winter wind blows in from the north.

Here is our helpful guide to planning an unforgettable 3-day eagle watching trip hitting all the major eagle hotspots throughout the region.

Great Rivers & Routes Eagle Watching Trip: Day 1

  • Begin your adventure with a stop at the Alton Visitor Center to pick up the newest edition of the Fall/Winter Go Guide. This book gives an outline of all eagle activities in the region. Also, visit click on the Plan My Visit button and set up your self-guided trip with our Eagle Watcher's Tour.
  • Head northwest on the Great River Road towards Clifton Terrace Park. This area is a great spot to pull in and pull out your binoculars or camera. Right along the riverfront, eagles like to settle in this spot.
  • Turn right onto Clifton Terrace Road and then another right on Route 3 to The Nature Institute. There are several trails here that you can walk for bluff-top views of eagles roosting and soaring over the river.
  • Make your way back to the Great River Road to head further west to Piasa Harbor. Get a close-up view of the eagles and the river at this harbor that’s situated between Grafton and Alton. Make sure to save time so you can stroll through Elsah, watching for eagles soaring over the river.
  • Finally, head northwards to TreeHouse Wildlife Center to see live bald eagles every weekend in January and February.
A bald eagle sits in a tree with its beak open in the Great Rivers & Routes region.

Day 2

Pere Marquette State Park walkway with view of river in the Great Rivers & Routes region.
Pere Marquette State Park

Day 3