The Great River Road is a national scenic byway extending through ten states along the Mississippi River. The route passes through historic downtown Helena and the St. Francis National Forest, marked by a green pilot’s wheel road sign.
Dating back to 1938, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, the concept of a transcontinental Great River Parkway along the Mississippi River was developed by the governors of the 10 river states. Wishing to conserve precious resources – among them land, time and dollars – it was decided that rather than building a new continuous road, the existing network of rural roads and then-fledgling highways that meandered and crisscrossed the river would become the Great River Road. To this day, many travelers drive up the Mississippi River along this route, exploring the river towns it connects.