Scenic Drives Worth Taking in Clinton County IL

There’s something serene and peaceful about getting in the car and going for a drive. You get to enjoy the beauty around you while being lulled into a peaceful trance by the sights and sounds. We have some beautiful Midwest places and views to see, so here are some scenic drives worth taking in Clinton County, IL. Our vast terrain comes alive with color as soon as you fasten your seat belt and turn on the radio.

Below are three of our favorite scenic drives, from shortest to longest. Pick your favorite and hit the open road. 

A Quick Trip 

This quick drive is only 4 miles, but it doesn’t lack scenery. You’ll start off on Old Hwy 50 in downtown Breese, maybe after a nice lunch at The Fainting Goat. Find Ellwood Road and head south. The road will quickly turn into Germantown Road then Hanover Street as you get closer to Germantown. The road breaks up into our quaint downtown streets where you can turn in any direction and find something to catch your eye and pique your curiosity. The star of this quick trip is the big white cross you passed about halfway. That’s known as Cholera Cross. It’s a piece of Clinton County history, so stop and check it out.

Water Views and Winding Roads 

This scenic drive winds around the bottom of Carlyle Lake and places you at the entrance of Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area. Start this trip off on Route 50 by Lakeside Orchard where you can pick peaches in the summer. Once you cross over the Kaskaskia River, Route 50 turns to Franklin Street and you can stop to see General Dean Bridge or turn right on 4th Street until you find Lake Road. 

This is where the scenery goes from water views to lush green foliage and open fields as Lake Road turns into Sunrise Hill/County Road 1840 E. Make a right onto County Road 1430 N and follow the slight winding in and out of the road as you pass by farmland and lakes. Once you pass Fisher Road, you’ll see the slight ripple of the lake’s edge and start to enjoy the view of Carlyle Lake. It’s the largest man-made lake in Illinois. Drive right into the Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area, a peninsula with campgrounds, hunting, a boat launch, and a state park. Go left OR right here to find more scenic driving plus lots of activities. 

Fifth wheel white camper in woods with huge trees, white pickup and car parked in area, lake in distance.

If you’re a camping enthusiast or just want to take a detour on this scenic drive, stop at one of these campgrounds: Dam West Recreational Campground, Carlyle Village Campground, Carlyle Lake Dam West Campground, and McNair Campground. 

A Longer, Leisurely Drive 

Our last scenic drive is the quintessential ride worth taking at 30 miles long. You’re taking one road the entire time, so enjoy the ride. Route 161 takes you through the downtown area of New Baden, Albers, Germantown, Bartleso, Hoffman, and Centralia. You’ll see a little bit of everything from Lost Creek and the Kaskaskia River to cornfields and open land for as far as the eye can see. Start off in New Baden and explore the county before ending your drive in Centralia where you can look for our stunning bell tower, the Carillon. Or reverse the order of your drive and end at Wooden Mouth in New Baden for an ice-cold craft beer.

Gorgeous sunset in the IL countryside

We hope you filled the gas tank and picked a few fun places to stop along the way. But, if not, we have plenty of places to refuel and friendly folk who will guide you to the best places in town. If you try one (or more) of these scenic drives worth taking in Clinton County, IL, please let us know in the comments section below!

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