The Great River Road

Old Man River, Father of Waters, “body of a nation,” Big Muddy—by any name the mighty Mississippi cuts a mythic figure across the American landscape.

Kentucky and Tennessee

Most of the GRR’s 60-odd miles across Kentucky are quite scenic, populated by only a handful of small towns, none of which has been overrun by tacky commercial strips. Continuing south across the Tennessee line, the route retains its rural, slow-road feel as it winds along the cultivated bottomlands around earthquake-created Reelfoot Lake.

Midway to Memphis, the GRR comes back to the modern world, crossing the I‑55 freeway then rejoining four-lane US‑51 as it races to downtown Memphis, passing pine woods and cotton fields mixed with mobile homes, suburban ranch houses, and gas stations.


Map of the Great River Road through Kentucky and Tennessee.

Map of the Great River Road through Kentucky and Tennessee.