Chain of Rocks Bridge, Saint Louis
The old Chain of Rocks Bridge spans the Mississippi River on the north edge of St. Louis, Missouri. The eastern end of the bridge is on Chouteau Island, (part of Madison, Illinois), while the western end is on the Missouri shoreline. Its most notable feature is a 22-degree bend occurring at the middle of the crossing.Our Saint Louis vacation builder makes visiting Chain of Rocks Bridge and other Saint Louis attractions simple, and helps you make a travel plan personal to you.
Originally a motor route, the bridge was for a time the route used by U.S. Route 66 (US 66) to cross over the Mississippi, but the bridge now carries only walking and biking trails over the river - and the New Chain of Rocks Bridge carries vehicular traffic to the north.
The old route to the bridge is now called Chain of Rocks Road and ends near Roman Road. Parking is available at the start of the now pedestrian route. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
The bridge's name comes from a large shoal, or rocky rapids, called the Chain of Rocks, which made that stretch of the Mississippi extremely dangerous to navigate. Because of a low-water dam built by the Corps of Engineers in the 1960s, little of the Chain of Rocks is visible today except during extreme low water conditions. After 1940, only a single impediment prevented the maintenance of a safe and reliable 9ft navigation channel on the Mississippi River from St. Paul, Minnesota, to New Orleans.
This impediment, known as the Chain of Rocks Reach, was a 17mi series of rock ledges that began just north of St. Louis and was extremely difficult and dangerous to navigate. In the late 1940s and early 1950s the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a 8.4mi canal to bypass this treacherous reach. To ensure adequate depths in the pool below the old Lock and Dam 26, a non-movable, low water dam was constructed just downstream of the old bridge and a lock was installed at the south end of the canal. Known respectively as Dam No. 27, also called Chain of Rocks Dam, and Locks No. 27, or Chain of Rocks Lock.
Chain of Rocks Bridge Reviews
We had to park outside of the parking lot and travel alternate routes to see both ends of the bridge but we saw it all by foot. The famousroute 66 landmark is currently under repair undriveable an the... more »
I love going up to the Chain of Rocks Bridge, both because it's near where I grew up and played as a kid and for the view of the river. It's about two miles over and back and you're treated to stunnin... more »
Great views, and a nice easy walk across the river. If you're into bird watching this seems like a good place, we saw a few cardinals and plenty of nests in the trees right at bridge level. Cool little historical facts and items along the length of the bridge as well. Unfortunately the Missouri side of the bridge is not open for parking, but there was plenty of space in the Illinois lot.
As soon as you know, that parking is (today) ONLY on the Illinois side, it is easy to find, park your car and explore. Although I was there on a nice sunny day, there is always something haunted around this place: an old, once busy road completely empty, the fast flowing river underneath you, the 2 little 'houses' looking misplaced in the middle of the water, strong winds play and whistle in the rusty construction with lose street lights and cables...
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