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Illinois (southern route)


Indiana State Line to Intersection with the River to River Trail

The Southern Midwest Route of the ADT crosses the Wabash River into Illinois on Illinois 141. Following back roads, the trail passes New Haven then turns south to Shawneetown and joins the River to River Trail on Karbers Ridge Road. Weather in the summer will be tropical with high humidity, but winter travel is generally pleasant although it can approach freezing temperatures at times.

River to River Trail to Grand Tower

The ADT follows the River to River Trail for some 127 miles. Proceeding west on the River to River Trail, the ADT is now in rugged hills and mixed hardwoods. The trail is soon in the Garden of the Gods, an area of steep cliffs and huge eroded rocks that afford outstanding vistas of the surrounding hills. The trail passes through the community of Herod to One Horse Gap and on to Lusk Creek Canyon National Natural Landmark before reaching Eddyville. The trail passes Jackson Hole, Peters, Cave, Crow Knob, and Sand Cave, the largest sandstone cave in North America, which may have been occupied by humans for about 12,000 years. Millstone Bluff is a National Register site that was a Mississipian Indian village and a quarry from which pioneers dug rock for their millstones.

At Cache Lake, the River to River Trail crosses the Tunnel Hill Rail-trail. The trail enters Ferne Clyffe State Park, which has many unique rock formations, including Hawks' Cave, a 150-foot-long shelter bluff. Giant City State Park offers an extensive trail system. The River to River Trail goes around Clear Springs Wilderness and LaRue Pine Hills, descends to pass Winters Pond, and terminates at Grand Tower.

Grand Tower to East St. Louis (Missouri State Line)

The ADT continues north on a combination of back roads and maintenance roads on the top of the levees along the Mississippi River to south of East St. Louis. There are several historic sites along this portion of the ADT, including Fort Kaskaskia, founded by Jesuit priests in 1703 at the site of an Indian village; Fort de Chartres, built by the French in 1750; Modoc, where a rock shelter is said to be the site of the longest continuous habitation in North America; Prairie du Rocher, first settled in 1722 as a French trading post; and Cahokia, the oldest town in Illinois settled in 1699 by French priests who established a mission here. A statue of Popeye stands in Chester, home of the creator of the cartoon character. In St. Clair County the levee trail is known as the Metro-East Levee trails. The ADT crosses the Mississippi River into Missouri from south of East St. Louis on the Eads Bridge, using Metro-link, a pedestrian walkway.

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