America's Scenic Byways

Mississippi Delta Great River Road

250 miles - Five hours to drive the byway.

A journey along the Great River Road opens the door to Mississippi's history. Often referred to as "Blues Alley," Hwy. 61 takes you south from Memphis into the Mississippi Delta. Here, centuries of Mississippi River floods have created some of the world's richest farmland. Depending on the time of the year, you'll see cotton, rice and soybeans being planted, grown, or harvested along the way.

Fraught with history, the Great River Road gives you a chance to step into the past and get a taste of the glorious antebellum Mississippi period. At the Vicksburg National Military Park, the 47-day Battle and Siege of Vicksburg is commemorated in 1,800 acres of hills, trenches and bluffs. Near Gibson, the town General Grant proclaimed "too beautiful to burn," lie the Ruins of Windsor, the poignant remains of Mississippi's largest antebellum mansion. And, in Woodville, visit the boyhood home of Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederation.

You can also get a taste of culture along the Great River Road. The lives of the people in the Delta are reflected in some of the world's richest and most soulful music: the blues. Explore the origin of this music at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, which includes memorabilia of B.B. King, Muddy Waters and many other blues legends. In the main cities that the Great River Road passes, you can find points of interest for even the most stubborn character. There are casinos in Tunica/Robinsville and Greenville, historical sites in almost all the towns, and horse-drawn carriages in Natchez.

The major communities along Mississippi’s Great River Road are all connected by an attachment to the Mississippi River. From plantation life, the Civil War, Civil Rights efforts, river port commerce, raising livestock and farming crops, mechanization, immigration of African Americans to the industrial north, to modern-day gaming, there are numerous stories that tell about life along the Mississippi. The people of the Mississippi Great River Road remain loyal to these remarkable stories. Few areas in this country offer such rich heritage and folklore as you will find along Mississippi’s Great River Road.