The Mississippi River is a highway of history carrying people, cultures, ideas, art, and music. Kentucky’s part of this highway begins where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers converge. The history that attracts visitors to the Great River Road today is a product of this extraordinary river and the landscape it has sculpted over time. Kentucky’s Great River Road challenges visitors to travel back in time to a place where the great Mississippian Native American culture used the river as a corridor for trade. The confluence is not just a scenic feature; it occupies a seminal place in America’s history, yet the landscape remains largely the same as it was during western expansion. Travel this byway and enter a time machine while imagining frontiersmen canoeing down uncharted waters, looking for the way west to the Pacific Ocean, but finding instead the way south to the Gulf of Mexico.
You will become engaged in the history of America’s efforts to claim, control, and tame its mightiest river, the Mississippi. Stand on the key terrain of the Confederacy’s Fort DeRussey, the south’s northernmost bastion on the Mississippi, and look down your guns at the approach of the soon-to-be tested Union General Ulysses S. Grant.
Kentucky’s Great River Road allows you to engage in your own sense of wonder as you discover more of American heritage. Come and explore the tales of Kentucky’s Great River Road.