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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography

Great River Road Byway Signs

A Photo Tour Of The Mississippi River
Great River Road Scenic Byway Marker Signs


The Great River Road was established in 1938 as a system of existing roadways and future parkways that would parallel the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. Most areas along the river have a national Great River Road route posted on one side of the river, and a state Great River Road route on the other side. Above Hastings, MN, there is only one route, which is both the state and national route. An alternate Great River Road route runs north from Lake Itasca into Manitoba and Ontario to connect the Great River Road to the Trans-Canada Highway. A 5-state section of the Great River Road in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota is recognized as a National Scenic Byway.
•  Minnesota
•  Wisconsin
•  Iowa
•  Illinois
•  Missouri
•  Kentucky
•  Tennessee
•  Arkansas
•  Mississippi
•  Louisiana
•  Manitoba
•  Ontario
Note — this is a work in progress.


Great River Road — Minnesota

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — White

This is the standard green on white Great River Road marker sign. It includes the Minnesota state name. The symbol is a river boat set inside of a river boat steering wheel. This is one of the few highway signs that does not include a border at the edge of the sign. This sign is posted in Cherokee Park in Saint Paul.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — White National Route

The Great River Road often has both a national and state route on opposite sides of the river. This example includes the National Route moniker. This sign is posted in Hastings.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Green

This reverse image sign variation has recently appeared in the Mississippi River headwaters region. This sign is posted just north of Aitkin.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Green National Route

Here is another example of the reverse image sign variation, this time with the National Route moniker. This example is posted near Coffee Pot Landing between Lake Itasca and Bemidji.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Grand Rounds Byway

This sign is used on the Great River Road bicycle path along the Great River Road in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The variation in this sign is the green outline and the text "Canada To Gulf" as opposed to a state name.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Blue

Rest area signs are marked in blue. This rest area sign includes the Great River Road logo. It marks Coffee Pot Landing located on the Mississippi River between Lake Itasca and Bemidji.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Brown

This brown Great River Road sign is used to mark a spur route or a path to a park that is located along the byway. This example is located on US-61 near Winona to mark the historic Pickwick Mill.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Brown Park

Parks are marked with brown signs. This park sign includes the Great River Road logo. Point Douglas Park is located at the Minnesota side of the state line near Prescott, Wisconsin.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Brown Park (Small)

This is the small variation of the brown sign pointing towards a city park along the Great River Road. In this case, the sign is located on US-61 in Saint Paul and it points towards Mounds Park.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Green Guide Sign

Points of interest are marked with green signs. This sign points the way back to the Great River Road national route from Cherokee Park in the West Side neighborhood of Saint Paul, just off of MN-13.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Visitor Center

The Great River Road logo is included on signs that are erected as part of a byway interpretive displays in several roadside parks along the byway. This example is located on MN-26 at the Iowa and Minnesota state line.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Highway Sign

This is a standard green highway sign located along US-169 north of Aitkin. It is not pointing out the official Great River Road, but rather, is pointing to a road named Great River Road. It runs from the Aitkin area north to Grand Rapids as a rural gravel road. It does also happen to be the official Great River Road, and is signed with the standard national route signs.

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Great River Road — Wisconsin

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — White Northbound

This is the standard green on white Great River Road marker sign. It includes the Wisconsin state name. Wisconsin also includes a moniker for northbound and southbound. This is the northbound variation. It is posted on WI-35 just south of Prescott.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — White Southbound

This is the standard green on white Great River Road marker sign. It includes the Wisconsin state name. Wisconsin also includes a moniker for northbound and southbound. This is the southbound variation. It is posted on WI-35 just south of Prescott.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Green

This new reverse image sign variation appeared in 2008. Unlike the Minnesota reverse image variation, this sign has square corners, no border, and it features a typeface with serifs. This sign is posted at the intersection of US-63 and WI-35 across the river from Red Wing, MN.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Black

Here is yet another reverse image Great River Road sign. In this case, the band with the lettering is green, as well as the riverboat image being done in reverse. Even more interesting is the black background outside of the pilot wheel outline. This sign is posted on WI-35 in Prairie du Chien.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Green Guide Sign

Points of interest are marked with green signs. This sign includes the Great River Road logo. It points the way to the Great River Road visitors center in Prescott.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Bridge Plate

This is a bridge plate that features the great river road logo. The sign is copper and brown. It looks absolutely stunning in the sunlight. This example is one of 16 that are attached on each of the 4 sides of 4 towers that are part of a bridge on WI-35 near Alma. There is another bridge that features this style bridge plate located on County Road C west of WI-35 a few miles south of Prairie du Chien.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Visitor Center

This badge marks the Great River Road Visitor Center at Prescott. The sign is round and features a dark olive color rather than the more traditional teal green.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — National Scenic Byway

The Great River Road national route in Wisconsin is recognized as a National Scenic Byway. This National Scenic Byway logo is displayed at the Great River Road Visitor Center in Prescott. This is the small size sign variation.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Visitor Center Banner

This banner was displayed on street lamp poles in Prescott during the summer of 2010. The upper section of the banner shows the clock tower in downtown Prescott, while the image on the lower section depicts the Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center.

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Great River Road — Iowa

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — White

This is the standard green on white Great River Road marker sign. It includes the Iowa state name. This sign is posted on IA-26 near the Minnesota state line.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Visitor Center

The Great River Road logo is included on signs that are erected as part of a byway interpretive displays in several roadside parks along the byway. This example is located on IA-26 at the Iowa and Minnesota state line.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — National Scenic Byway

The Great River Road national route in Iowa is recognized as a National Scenic Byway. The Great River Road signs on this section of the route often include the National Scenic Byway logo sign. This is the large size variation of that sign.

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Historical Marker

This historical marker located near Muscatine, Iowa, tells the story of Charles Young, who worked throughout his life to establish the Great River Road along the Mississippi. His vision for the parkway included the pilot wheel and riverboat logo that is featured both on this monument and on the highway signs that mark the roadway.

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Great River Road — Illinois

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — White

This is the standard Great River Road sign as displayed in Illinois. The state name is in the green band that makes up the pilot wheel. This example is displayed on IL-84 near Savanna.

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Great River Road — Missouri

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — White

This is the Great River Road marker used in Missouri. It is similar to the standard sign, but does not feature the green band inside the pilot well. Rather, the band is white, and the lettering is green. This example is posted on US-61 near Wayland.

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Great River Road — Kentucky

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road

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Great River Road — Tennessee

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — Brown

This brown sign includes the Great River Road logo as well as a new variant of the small sized America's Byways sign. The Great River Road logo is printed in reverse compared to the standard green signs. This example is posted on US-61 at the Tennessee and Mississippi state line.

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Great River Road — Arkansas

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — White

This is the standard Great River Road sign as displayed in Arkansas. The state name is in the green band that makes up the pilot wheel. This example is displayed on US-49 at the west end of the Helena bridge. Arkansas Great River Road signs typically include the small America's Byways sign.

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Great River Road — Mississippi

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road — White

This is the standard Great River Road sign as displayed in Mississippi. The state name is in the green band that makes up the pilot wheel. This example is displayed on US-61 at the Tennessee state line.

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Great River Road — Louisiana

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road

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Great River Road — Manitoba

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road

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Great River Road — Ontario

Great River Road Sign   Great River Road

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