Awesome Autumn Colors at Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton, Illinois (near St. Louis, Missouri, USA)

October 17, 2008

One of the regional treasures in St. Louis has to be Pere Marquette Park on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. Not only is the 8,050 acre park spectacular, but getting there is jaw-droppingly beautiful up the Great River Road along the Mississippi River just to the north of downtown St. Louis. The Great River Road was designated a National Scene Byway some years ago, and it is reminiscent of the beautiful drive along the Pacific Coast Highway in California. The river opens up through here really wide on one side of the River Road, and there are high granite cliffs on the other side, with the road winding along between them. It’s gorgeous any time of year, but especially in the autumn, when the leaves are turning and the air is crisp.

The lodge at Pere Marquette Park was built in the 1930s and renovated/expanded in the 1980s. It’s both rustic and modern and a favorite for wedding parties throughout the year. Head up to the Park to see the awesome autumn colors the next few weeks! It has a wonderful restaurant, so time your visit around breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The park offers hiking, bird watching, and horseback riding, too.

Their brochure says, “As the season turns cooler and the colors turn warmer, plan on taking a scenic drive as the forest blazes with a beauty unique to Pere Marquette State Park.”

For more information, call (618) 786-3323.

Great River Road National Scenic Byway near St. Louis, Missouri

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