The Confluence Trail parallels the Illinois side of the river for sixteen miles, from 20th Street in Granite City to Russell Commons Park in Alton. It is so named because it passes the point where the Missouri and Mississippi merge -- a spot marked at the Jones-Confluence State Park, which you'll see on the way. The trail offers some amazing scenery, and it's a pretty easy ride on asphalt and oil-and-chip surfaces. While you're on the trail, you can stop at the National Great Rivers Museum and learn about, uh, our great rivers. Or you can hold out for Alton, where you can grab a drink and some lunch.
The Sam Vadalabene Bikeway Still riding? Good, because the twenty-mile Sam Vadalabene Bikeway picks up in Alton and ends in Pere Marquette State Park north of Grafton. It's also the prettiest so far, winding between limestone bluffs and the river. The trail follows the Great River Road on a clearly marked bike lane that passes through scads of tourist-friendly spots with shops and restaurants aplenty.
Maps, driving directions and more information is available at www.confluencegreenway.org. Also, visit www.greatrivers.info for more about the River Ring, a planned network of 45 greenways (17 of which are complete) that will encircle the St. Louis Metro Area.