Bald Eagle Viewing Locations
in the Middle Mississippi River Valley Area
Louisiana, MO to St. Louis, MO
Calhoun County to Granite City, IL
   
The following are sites in the area where you should have a good chance at spotting "baseballs" and are listed in approximate geographic order following the Mississippi River from north to south. See the Southern Region area map for an overall view of eagle watching locations. 
   
The following are sites in the area where you should have a good chance at spotting "baseballs" and are listed in approximate geographic order following the Mississippi River from north to south.
  Ted Shanks Conservation Area
Pike County, Missouri
    The Ted Shanks Conservation Area consists of nearly 7,000 acres of habitat that Bald Eagles prefer when they are roosting. An internal road system that loops around the site provides for good automotive viewing.
For more information on the Ted Shanks Conservation Area.
  Clarksville Riverfront
Pike County, Missouri
    Clarksville is located on the banks of the Mississippi River and is directly downstream from Lock and Dam #24. The dam helps prevent ice from forming on the river and the structures churns the water stunning fish making for easy meals for the hundreds of eagles that congregate here. Clarksville also hosts a popular Bald Eagle Days event in late January.
For more information on Clarksville.
  Hardin Riverfront
Calhoun County, Illinois
    Bald Eagles like to roost in the trees along the Illinois River near the town of Hardin. Many eagle watchers like to take a lunch break after a morning of "baseball spotting" at either the Barefoot or Mel's Riverdock where diners can view eagles from large picture windows.
For more information on Hardin.
  Sandy Island Bald Eagle Sanctuary & Lock and Dam #25
Calhoun County, Illinois & Lincoln County, Missouri
    Adjacent to the Winfield Ferry is Locks and Dam #25 and the 22-acre Sandy Island Bald Eagle Sanctuary owned by the Nature Conservancy. The sanctuary is not open to the public during the winter months.  Bald eagles can be seen during the winter as the birds take advantage of the open churning water created by the lock and dam. Please note that the Winfield Ferry is not operating at this time.
For more information on Lock and Dam #25.
  Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge
Calhoun & Jersey Counties, Illinois
    A viewing station with long range binoculars can be found at the Visitors Center in the Calhoun County portion of this refuge operated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The Refuge is closed from October 15 to December 15, with the exception of the Visitors Center, which is open on weekdays from 8 am to 4 pm. This part of the refuge is most easily accessed by the Brussels Free Ferry which may not be running if the river is frozen (See the Calhoun County Ferries page for more information.) In Jersey County, eagles can be spotted along the flat three mile long Gilbert Lake Hiking Trail. Unfortunately the only known Bald Eagle nest in the region was destroyed by a storm in the spring of 2002. NOTE: No cars are allowed in this portion of the refuge. Parking is available on either end of this trail, either near the Brussels Free Ferry or near the Pere Marquette State Park Marina.
For more information on the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge.
  Pere Marquette State Park
Jersey County, Illinois
    The Park offers free Bald Eagle Watching Programs from late December through February. The programs involve a lecture, a video presentation, and an observational drive to a variety of areas where eagles may be spotted. These programs are very popular and advance reservations are necessary. Check the Park’s Winter Calendar Page for more details. Bald Eagles can be spotted in the Marina area, which is across the Great River Road from the Lodge and the Visitor Center. The Marina is also adjacent to the Gilbert Lake Hiking Trail of the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge
For more information on Pere Marquette State Park.
  Brussels Free Ferry Area
Jersey & Calhoun Counties, Illinois
    This is a favorite area for Bald Eagles with two adjacent government wildlife areas for roosting and the Brussels Free Ferry churning up fish to eat or to steal from the ringed billed gulls. There is riverside Eagle Watching Parking at the Ferry and several other off road parking areas just east of the Ferry (towards Grafton.) Just west of the ferry along the Great River Road is the Gilbert Lake Hiking Trail of the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge.
For more information on Calhoun County Ferries.
  Grafton Riverfront
Jersey County, Illinois
    Many Bald Eagles can be seen utilizing the islands across the water from Grafton. When the river is frozen, Bald Eagles can be seen on the ice. The nests of a Blue Heron rookery can be seen clearly on one of the islands upstream.
For more information on Grafton.
  Hideaway Harbor Park
St. Charles County, Missouri
    Located just west of Portage des Sioux, this 50-acre park contains historic and natural features, as well as spectacular views across the Mississippi River toward the Great River Road.  Bald Eagles roost in and around the park each winter. From St. Charles take MO-94 North to Grafton Ferry Road and turn left. Continue on Grafton Ferry Road to Portage Road and turn right. Follow Portage Road to Sioux Drive and turn left. Follow Sioux Drive to the entrance of the park.
  Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway
Madison and Jersey Counties, Illinois
    From Alton to Grafton the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway runs along the Mississippi River under the limestone bluffs. Eagles can be spotted riding the ice down the river or soaring as they look for fish. There are a number of places that eagle watchers can pull over to get a longer look. Don't forget to stop at the Alton Visitors Center near the grain elevator to get information on the area and on Saturdays in January to see an eagle up close.
For more information on the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway.
  The Nature Institute
Madison County, Illinois
    The Nature Institute is located on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in Godfrey. The office has a spotting scope that visitors can use to look for eagles and is open Monday through Friday. The Nature Institute also hosts several informational Bald Eagle programs during January and February.
For more information on The Nature Institute.
  Bald Eagle - Up Close and Personal
Madison County, Illinois
    You can see a live Bald Eagle every Saturday in January from 10 am to 2 pm at the Alton Visitors Center. Experts from the World Bird Sanctuary will be there to answer your questions, books and souvenirs are available for sale, and other information can be obtained on where to look for eagles as well as other information about the area. The events are free and picture taking is encouraged. The Alton Visitors Center is located at the corner of Broadway and Piasa Street near the grain elevator in downtown Alton. Call 1-800-258-6645 for more information.
  Melvin Price Locks and Dams
Jersey County, Illinois
    The water below the locks and dam are almost always free of ice which makes this a popular place for Bald Eagles. The Esplanade park has several viewing platforms and a good view of the Maple Island Conservation Area. The Locks and Dam complex is adjacent to the new National Great Rivers Museum.
For more information on the Melvin Price Locks and Dams.
  Riverlands Environmental Demonstration Area
St. Charles County, Missouri
    This area consists of 1200 acres of wetlands managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Bald Eagles can be seen perching in the trees on Ellis Island and feeding around Ellis Bay. Visitors can drive below the Melvin Price Locks and Dam to view large numbers of eagles perched in the trees on Maple Island. An observation deck and and several long range binoculars can be found near the Visitors Center along the shore of Ellis Bay. As of February 5, 2002, the Riverlands EDA reports that depending on ice conditions (the more ice, the more eagles) visitors can see from 10 to 100 eagles in its vicinity. Visitors can also see a group of approximately 45 Trumpeter Swans.
For more information on the Riverlands EDA.
  The Chain of Rocks Bridge
St. Louis County, Missouri & Madison County, Illinois
    The Chain of Rocks Bridge spans the Mississippi River on the north edge of St. Louis, Missouri and was the route used by Route 66 to cross over the Mississippi. Its most notable feature is a 22-degree bend occurring at the middle of the crossing, necessary for navigation on the river. Originally a motor route, it now carries walking and biking trails over the river. The rapids seen just to the south of the bridge are caused by 2925 foot low-water River Dam #27, the first permanent rock-fill dam across a major river in the United States. The dam keeps the water open and attracts the bald eagles looking for food. The bridge is the site of a popular Eagle Days event held annually in January. The bridge is located just south of I-270 on Riverview Drive.
  World Bird Sanctuary
St. Louis County, Missouri
    With over 130-acres the WBS is home to eagles, owls, hawks, falcons, vultures, parrots, mammals and reptiles. A team of Naturalists offer an array of education programs covering a variety of environmental topics. Admission is free but there is a fee for programs and guided tours.
For more information on the World Bird Sanctuary.
   
FEATURED ATTRACTIONS ALONG THE GREAT RIVER ROAD
Lewis and Clark
State Historic Site
Cahokia Mounds
State Historic Site
Foundry Art Centre
St. Charles, MO
Mastodon
State Historic Site
     




 
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