Over The Thanksgiving weekend, my wife and I spent some time in St. Francisville, LA (without bikes, unfortunately!). While there, I saw a guy heading east towing a loaded BOB. It turns out, I was right on the Adventure Cycling Southern Tier route. And me with no bike. Oh, the shame!
For those who don't know, St. Francisville is in the middle of Louisiana plantation country and is on the east side of the Mississippi river north of Baton Rouge.
When I got home I did a little research and found that not only does the Southern Tier go through St. Francicville, but the Adventure Cycling Great Rivers South route ends there. In addition, I spotted a sign along LA 1 highway on the west side of the river and a little ways north of the area with a bicycle outline and the letters MRT. A little more research and I find that there is another Mississippi bike route in the making called the Mississippi River Trail.
Not seeing any reference to this route in the archives, those who are interested in cycling along the Mississippi from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, should check out www.mississippirivertrail.org for details on maps and the status of the trail in your area of interest.
It's nice to see bike routes being created, but these guys could use some publicity. I live in Texas and have never heard of this trail. If I hadn't turned my head at just the right instant while driving home, I would never have seen that cryptic sign.
Interesting. Looks like its in the very early stages at this point. And the route in MN is currently slated for some fairly busy roads. For instance, going down 35 on the Wisconsin side would be a bit safer than taking 61 on the MN side. Going the other way, from Mpls/St Paul to the headwaters (Itasca State Park), the current map shows plans to follow some of the busier roads that all the weekenders take to&from their cabins. If I were considering this route, I'd research alternate roads!
I cycled the Wisconsin portion of the river this past summer and about half the Ilinois section. It was superb and wisconsin section and north ill essentially unspoiled as of yet but fantastic bays and bird sanctuaries. Wisconsin's Great river route is on the web under that name, you can get a complete color print out for free, strip maps and directions for the entire 250 or so miles. The Iowa side is esswentially much more hilly and has not been set up yet on rod that would be good cycling. The wisconsin side onlyhas a few spots where traffic gets tight and in some place could use a couple directional markers(mostly in larger towns where route gets confusing) but essentially follows the same road and has several rail/trail segments. Campgrounds are plentiful but beware and check ahead, the wisconsin river route maps list so camping that no longer exists in some town, especailly at northern terminus. Also, it would be best to travel north to south, (1) you go with the flow and (2) the shoulders on road when travelling north are not as good or in many case non-existing.
Illinois has maps for the entire state in segments but nothing printed specific on river route although it does describe and show the route(he first rail/trail segment in Illinois is actually paved blacktop and was quite impressive, also the illinois campgrounds suprized me, they were plentiful, biker friendly, clean, quiet and cheap with the best tent sights (rolling grass and trees like a good golf course) I havde encountered in hyears of travel.
There are other segment prin out you can get on web if you reserach the miss river route site(southern ill included to ten and missouri side.
It was fun to be able to just jump in the river on a hot day.
There is also the option of getting off the river, if you are coming south, in Tennessee and pedaling the Natchez Trace Parkway from just below NAshville to Natchez MIss, Print out maps also available on web at Natchez Trace Parkway site.
Hi Supcom, I stumbled across this trail project also while researching the Great Rivers route from La. up to Kentucky. I've not heard much about the Adventure Cycling Great River's route, so I'm very interested in this route. Probably a 2006 tour, so maybe they will have it developed by then. I am planning to get a ride from a friend to the Pensacola Florida area and head west on the Southern Tier to New Orleans and then north along the Great Rivers route or this new route to Kentucky and then east along the Transam back home to Louisville Ky.
If any of you all have any experience with that route, please let me know. Thanks, Greg