Old Chain of Rocks Bridge/Historic Route 66
A Confluence Attraction
(314) 416-9930 or (618) 874-8554 toll-free from Illinois
Participating Confluence Organizations
City of Madison IL
Effective 6/23/08: Due to funding limitations the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge will be open between 9 am and dusk until further notice. When the Bridge is closed, please use the McKinley Bridge to cross the Mississippi River. From the Missouri entrance to the Bridge, the McKinley Bridge can be accessed 7 miles south on the Riverfront Trail. From the Illinois entrance to the Bridge, the McKinley Bridge can be accessed by taking the MCT Confluence Trail south to bike-friendly IL Rt. 3 South (8 miles).
Free parking is available at the Illinois Bridge entrance and at North Riverfront Park, south of the Bridge along the Riverfront Trail. The Missouri Bridge entrance will only be open for vehicle parking during special events. Secure parking will be available for these events. When the Missouri parking entrance is locked visitors are encouraged to park at the Illinois Bridge entrance and at North Riverfront Park, south of the Bridge along the Riverfront Trail.
10950 Riverview Drive, St Louis, MO 63137
Eagle Days at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge is held the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, January 17 & 18, 2009. The program hours are 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The program includes an eagle education program (repeated every 20 minutes, 10:00 a.m. – 2:40 p.m.), viewing scopes on the Bridge and Lewis and Clark re-enactors who set up an encampment reminiscent of the 1804-1806 Corps of Discovery Expedition. The program is FREE, parking at the MO bridge entrance is $5 or park in the satellite lots at North Riverfront Park or the Missouri Welcome Center and take a FREE shuttle. FREE parking is also available at the IL bridge entrance.
Note: The Bridge will be closed 1/13/09 – 1/16/09 for set up and school programming. The Bridge will reopen for the public Eagle Days program January 17 & 18, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The Bridge will be closed on Monday, 1/19/09 until Noon to remove equipment from the Bridge. The Bridge hours on Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, January 19, will be Noon – 5:00 p.m. The Bridge is open daily, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. In extreme winter weather the Bridge may be closed. For more information call 314/436-1324 #107 or visit www.trailnet.org.
Segways Tours at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
Starting on April 26, 2009 and continuing every other Sunday through October 25, the Saint Louis Science Center will offer “Meet Me on Route 66 Glided Tours.” Meet on the Illinois side of the river and ride the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge across the Mississippi. Follow the bike trail down the Missouri side of the river learning history of the famous Route 66. Brief training is included.
Learn more on the Saint Louis Science Center website
(By car) The Bridge is located south of I-270, exit at Riverview Drive in Missouri. In Illinois from I-270 exit at IL Route 3, go south to Chain of Rocks Road and follow west to the bridge entrance parking area.
(By bike) The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge is currently accessible from the St. Louis Riverfront Trail (in Missouri) and the MCT Confluence Trail (in Illnois). Both of these trails are described on this website.
The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge was constructed in 1929 as a toll bridge to serve the northern portion of the bi-state St. Louis area. It became part of the historic “Mother Road,” old Route 66, in 1936, and was purchased by the City of Madison IL in 1939. The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge was superseded in the mid-1960s by the much-wider I-270 bridge a short distance to its north.
Vacant for nearly 30 years, the Bridge found new life through a major renovation project instituted by Trailnet. Since its reopening in 1999, the Bridge has served as a multi-use trail for biking, hiking and public programs and events. It overlooks a particularly scenic stretch of the Mississippi opposite Chouteau Island, which includes the natural “chain of rocks” across the river and two architecturally significant water intake towers, built as part of massive improvements to the city’s water treatment system in preparation for the 1904 World’s Fair.
This renovated bridge is dedicated exclusively to bicycle and pedestrian use. At one mile, it is one of the longest such bridges in the world.
The Bridge is a key Mississippi River crossing for a growing network of regional trails and greenways. Main connections at this time are to the St. Louis Riverfront Trail in Missouri and to Chouteau Island IL and the MCT Confluence Trail (Granite City to Alton). From this last trail, cyclists can proceed through Alton to pick up the Vadalabene Bikeway, traveling to Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton.
The Bridge contains interpretive areas on Historic Route 66 and the Mississippi River, and a pedestrian lighting system that permits special uses at night.
A number of special events are held each year on the bridge, including Eagle Days in January, in partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Rest Area Facilities Enhanced at the Bridge
Trailnet received funding from the Regional Arts Commission
to work with St. Louis artist, Andy Cross, to enhance the new rest area facilities at the western entry area to the Bridge (photo below). Work was completed in summer 2006.
Ultragate Added to the Bridge
James Woodfill, from Kansas City, completed a public art installation on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in August, 2006. The goal of Woodfill’s public installation (photo below) is to encourage reflection about the site and about the environment that the viewer is “in” both physically and emotionally. Funding for the project was secured through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Department of Transportation. The City of Madison Public Works assisted with the installation.
Woodfill’s portfolio may be viewed at His portfolio may be viewed at www.jameswoodfill.com.
Winner of the 2006 Outstanding Trail Sharing Award
The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge was recognized by American Trails as the recipient of the Outstanding Trail Sharing Award on October 21, 2006 at the American Trails Conference. This award recognizes innovative and successful trail sharing efforts, programs, and systems. The Bridge is part of the historic Route 66 Scenic Byway System, serves as a key link connecting trails in Missouri and Illinois and is a shared venue for many outdoor recreational activities.
Added to National Register of Historic Places
The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge was added to the registry on December 1, 2006. The National Register of Historic Places is the Nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources. Properties listed in the Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.
For more information about the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge see
For more information about Historic Route 66, see
http://www.missouri66.org/index.html (Route 66 Association of Missouri)
http://www.Il66assoc.org (Route 66 Association of Illinois)
http://www.national66.org (National Historic Route 66 Federation)