Sam Vadalabene Bikeway
A Confluence Greenway Attraction
Spans 20 miles along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, from downtown Alton to Pere Marquette State Park at Grafton, paralleling the Great River Road (Illinois Highway 100)
(By car) From north St. Louis County take I-270 to Missouri Highway 367 North (Lewis and Clark Boulevard). The Alton exit is 31B. After crossing the Mississippi River at the Clark Bridge, turn left onto Illinois Highway 100, which is the extension of Highway 143 from the south. Proceed through town; a parking lot for the Vadalabene Bikeway is on the right-hand side immediately north of downtown.
(By bike) Cyclists wishing to enjoy an extended ride can reach the south side of Alton via the Confluence Trail, which terminates at Russell Commons Park near Lock and Dam 26 (this trail is also described on this website). The on-street connection between the two trails follows the riverfront through downtown Alton.
Greater Alton/Twin Rivers Convention and Visitors Bureau
(618) 465-6676 or (800) 258-6645
For most of its length, the bikeway travels between magnificent, forested limestone bluffs and the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The historic riverside towns and villages of Alton, Elsah, and Grafton provide a variety of services, including restaurants, lodging, shops, and outdoor recreation, as does Pere Marquette State Park (described elsewhere on this website). Bicycles can be rented in Grafton.
Our Lady of the Rivers, guardian of the waterway at Portage des Sioux MO, can be seen from the trail. Hundreds of boats converge on this spot each summer for the “blessing of the fleet” ceremony.
A short distance north of the Town of Grafton, a stone cross marks the 1673 landing of the Marquette and Joliet Expedition at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
The Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge is located on the riverside of the Bikeway.
Two ferries cross Illinois near Grafton: the Brussels Free Ferry to scenic Calhoun County IL, and the Grafton Ferry, which connects Jersey County IL to St. Charles County MO (fee charged).
For more information on points of interest along the Great River Road and Vadalabene Bikeway, see
http://midwest.fws.gov/marktwain (Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge)