This Route 66 attraction was once an essential part of the cross-country journey, taking travelers from Illinois, across the Mississippi river, and into Missouri (or vice versa). While you can no longer drive the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, it’s still worth a trip to walk (or bike) across and admire.
The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge spans just over a mile across the Mississippi River, connecting Chouteau Island (part of Madison, Illinois) to St Louis, Missouri. It was built privately as a toll bridge in 1929 and, after a reroute in 1935, became a quintessential crossing for travelers on Route 66.
The bridge was perhaps best known for its most unusual feature: a 30 degree bend. Most bridge designs are straight, with curves being rare and a sharp bend even rarer. But this one veers off to make a safer journey possible for riverboats below.
The bridge was decommissioned in 1970 after a free interstate bridge was erected just to the north in 1966. Traffic declined and it was no longer financially feasible to maintain both.
While you can no longer drive across the bridge, it is now open to pedestrians and bicyclists. The non-profit organization Trailnet leased the bridge in 1997 and repaired the bridge. It now serves as a monument to the past, with fun Route 66 displays, reproduced motel signs, benches, vintage Texaco pumps, and more. A fun walk and a fun Instagram selfie await.
Please note that you should always park on the Illinois side of the bridge. The parking lot there is secured by security cameras while the Missouri side reportedly is susceptible to car break ins.
Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
Address: 10820 Riverview Dr, St. Louis, MO 63137
Parking: 4205-4207 Chain of Rocks Rd, Granite City, IL (6am-9pm)
Cost: Free to See
Hours: Always Visible