The confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers has drawn visitors for generations. Whether it is walking in the footsteps of Lewis & Clark or watching eagles swoop from the sky, the confluence corridor welcomes one and all to witness the wonders of our region’s natural beauty and historical importance.
Alton Visitors Center
Not far from the banks of the Mississippi River, the Alton Visitor Center is the quintessential source for information on the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, a 30-mile stretch of one of the most scenic drives in the country. The Scenic Byway hugs the banks of the Mississippi River from Hartford on the southern end to Hardin in the north. Find out where to eat, stay and, of course, where to go for your outdoor adventure.
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area
Search for eagles in the wetlands at Columbia Bottom. The area includes a view of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, more than 6.5 miles of river frontage, about 800 acres of bottomland forest and a 110-acre island.
Edward “Ted” and Pat Jones Confluence Point State Park
Standing at the point where two of the nation’s mightiest rivers merge, Edward “Ted” and Pat Jones- Confluence Point State Park provides a unique perspective on America. Confluence Point is where Western expansion really began and where the Lewis and Clark Expedition set off on their journey up the Missouri. The park’s wetlands are part of the Mississippi River flyway, making it a great place to see waterfowl, including bald eagles and raptors.
Take time to stroll through the village, watching for eagles soaring over the river. The entire village is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can head down to Front Street for a stretch of the legs. Walk the riverfront to view eagles perched in the trees and soaring over the river.
Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower
Climb 50, 100 and 150 feet above the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and look down on their waters and the story where two explorers began their journey westward. From the three levels, vantage points give way to communities, history and stories of life along the riverbanks. The three levels can be reached by elevator or stairs. All guests of the Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower must be accompanied by a tour guide.
Lewis & Clark State Historical Site
Come to where the journey began at the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site. As National Trail Site #1 on the Lewis & Clark Trail, this museum is dedicated to telling the story of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as they prepared to map the western United States in 1804. A replica settler’s cabin and multiple covered picnic areas surround the exterior of the museum.
National Great Rivers Museum/Melvin Price Locks & Dam
Watch eagles fishing for an easy catch at the Locks & Dam. The National Great Rivers Museum offers indoor spotting scopes for viewing. Lock tours are also available for a birds-eye view of natural wonders.
Pere Marquette State Park
The park is a nature lover’s paradise. In addition to enjoying the spectacular views of the Illinois River and its backwaters from several points atop the bluffs, visitors can take advantage of a variety of year-round recreational opportunities, including horseback riding, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and boating. A popular home to eagles, which can be seen along the Illinois River banks or spotted from scenic lookout points within the park.
Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary The Audubon Center at Riverlands
Located on the Mississippi River in the 3,700-acre Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, the Audubon Center at Riverlands is your gateway and getaway to nature in St. Louis. The Sanctuary’s 8.5 miles of trails, river islands, prairie marsh, scenic overlooks, one-of-kind avian observatory, and picnic areas, provide multiple access points to the Mississippi River, and abundant year round opportunities to view birds and enjoy the outdoors. The sustainably built Center boasts a spectacular 140-degree view of Ellis Bay. Welcoming, and replete with spotting scopes, field guides, and helpful staff and volunteers, the Center offers unmatched experiences to view wintering Trumpeter Swans and Bald Eagles.
Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge at Gilbert Lake
One-half mile upriver from the Brussels Ferry is Gilbert Lake. The trees out in the field often have eagles perched there. A three-mile hiking trail connects with Pere Marquette State Park.
Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge at Swan Lake
Ride across the Brussels Ferry into Calhoun County and follow the signs to Swan Lake. The visitor’s center has scopes for viewing eagles.