Top Fall Travel Ideas

Planning your next fall vacation?

You’ll find plenty of things throughout the Great Rivers & Routes region in Southwestern Illinois this autumn.

Enjoy beautiful fall color drives along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway (the Illinois portion of the Great River Road), and Route 66 and check out area wineries and family adventures including a seven-acre corn maze, a zip line, alpine coaster and numerous overlooks of amazing fall colors along the Mississippi River.

If you’re looking for fall weekend getaways, the Great Rivers & Routes region has it all.

Scenic fall colors & foliage with rock formations along river in Great Rivers & Routes Illinois

Fall Colors 2023

Our fall colors will begin to shine in October but won't peak until early November this year! Plan your trip to the Great Rivers & Routes region just outside St. Louis in Southwestern Illinois to experience one of Nature's greatest shows. Fill up your tanks and trek to the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway for one of the most scenic fall drives in the Midwest!

*If Mother Nature is true to form, we estimate that peak colors will occur in early November.

Peak Foliage Dates for 2011 – 2022

Year: Peak Dates (Week)

2022: Nov. 7 - 12

2021: Nov. 7 - 12

2020: Nov. 7 - Nov. 10

2019: Nov. 2 – Nov. 7

2018: Nov. 5 – Nov. 10

2017: Nov. 4 – Nov. 9

2016: Oct. 28 – Nov. 5

2015: Oct. 25 – Oct. 31

2014: Oct. 26 – Nov. 1

2013: Nov. 3 – Nov. 9

2012: Oct. 28 – Nov. 3

2011: Oct. 23 – Oct. 29


There are three great rivers road trips all around Alton to catch beautiful fall foliage. Whether you're biking, hiking or driving along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, the fall colors are simply breathtaking.

Autumn color cruising along the byway, over river ferries and among the rolling hills of the countryside, has become a favorite pastime for repeat visitors to the region.

Meeting of the Great Rivers

It’s the road most traveled heading west on the Great River Road from Alton to Elsah, Grafton and Pere Marquette State Park and back. The average weekend warrior takes this drive because it is the easiest run to remember, but it has the heaviest traffic on Autumn Saturdays and Sundays.

Length: 80 miles roundtrip (approximately 1 hour, 42 minutes)

Directions: Click Here

Fall Colors Peak Percent: 0%

US 67 Country Loop

We consider this to be the best country day drive in the state of Illinois. Enter anywhere along this loop, but remember: drive counter clockwise and see the Scenic Byway by driving downriver – the view of the bluffs is the absolute best.

Length: 90.4 miles (approximately 2 hours, 14 minutes)

Directions: Click Here

Fall Colors Peak Percent: 0%

Calhoun County Vistas & Ferries Loop

Rolling hills, winding roads, orchards and riverboat ferries create the perfect scenery for a peaceful drive through Calhoun County. If you began the loop at the Golden Eagle Ferry, simply cross the Brussels Ferry back into Calhoun County to access the ferry and return to Missouri.

Length: 63.1 miles (approximately 1 hour, 36 minutes)

Directions: Click Here

Fall Colors Peak Percent: 0%

SPEND THE NIGHT: B&Bs & Guest Houses

When you're in town, spend the night at some of the best bed & breakfast inns in the state of Illinois – the Beall Mansion, Tara Point Inn and Green Tree Inn.. Both places offer stunning views of fall colors.

Beall Mansion

Located on “Millionaire’s Row” in Alton, it was voted “Illinois’ Best Bed & Breakfast” by Illinois Magazine. This elegant bed & breakfast, with eleven and a half foot ceilings and rooms adorned in antiques and marble bronze, was once the private residence of Senator Edmond Beall. Visitors who come to the Beall will be pampered and will enjoy luxurious accommodations, including: private baths, whirlpools, fireplaces, plush robes and more.

Tara Point Inn

Further up the Great River Road in Grafton, the Tara Point Inn maintains a commanding presence atop the towering limestone bluffs overlooking the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. Known for its breathtaking scenic views, the Tara Point Inn was chosen as one of the “Most Scenic Views” by Arlington’s Inn Traveler magazine for 2004.

Green Tree Inn

Enjoy a stay at the cozy and scenic Green Tree Bed & Breakfast Inn located in the historic Village of Elsah along the Great River Road. Enjoy afternoon sweet treats and a homemade breakfast during your stay. Take a walk, or even a bicycle ride, through Elsah and enjoy the serenity of this quaint village.

Views from the Tara Point Inn in Grafton

Pere Marquette Lodge

Stay right in the center of the largest state park in Illinois and be within seconds to hiking and biking trails to see beautiful fall colors.

In addition to these wonderful romantic lodging options, there are other numerous guest houses, cabins, and hotels. Take your pick of overnight stays in communities immersed in gorgeous fall colors including: Alton, Collinsville, Edwardsville, and Grafton. More lodging options are available here.

Along the Mother Road of Route 66, check out lodging and overnight accommodations in Litchfield and Troy.


Follow us on Facebook & Instagram to view more photos and see what our fans are saying as they make their journeys along the road in the coming days.

Make it a Monumental Adventure!

While you are drinking in the brilliant fall colors, be sure to stop by some of the great monuments and historic sites that are part of the Great Rivers & Routes region. From the Mother Jones Monument in Mt. Olive, along Route 66, to the 1820 Benjamin Stephenson House in Edwardsville, the Lovejoy Monument in Alton and Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Fall is the perfect time to craft a road trip to enjoy the history of the area. For more historical sites, click here.

Elijah P. Lovejoy Monument in Alton (Photo credit: Marcus Piper)