Photo by Jim Netz
Mississippi River Bridges That Cross Into Wisconsin Along The Great River Road
With the Wisconsin Great River Road running alongside the Mississippi River, it is only natural for there to be Wisconsin bridges connecting the communities on either side of the channel. It is helpful to know where some of these bridges are to make traveling and planning routes easier if you’re trying to hop on the Wisconsin Great River Road. But many of these bridges have historical and community significance and can be found near visitor centers, interpretive centers, and rest stops.
Traveling southeast from Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Prescott Bridge leads into Prescott, Wisconsin at the junction of the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. Prescott, the northern gateway to the Wisconsin Great River Road, is one of the oldest towns on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, dating back to 1839. As you come into the city, a right turn off the bridge will take you to the Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center at Freedom Park. The visitor center is a great place to learn about the Upper Mississippi region through interactive exhibits and displays. From the visitor center, you can also clearly see the distinct line where the brown waters of the Mississippi are joined by the blue waters of the St. Croix River.
Big Blue Bridges
Coming from La Crescent, Minnesota this Mississippi River bridge is actually two bridges, the Cass Street Bridge and the Cameron Avenue Bridge that lead in and out of the river city of La Crosse, Wisconsin. These two bridges are often referred to as the Big Blue Bridges due to their color and lead into downtown La Crosse near Riverside Park. Downtown La Crosse is packed with shops, boutiques, restaurants, and bars for the Great River Road traveler to stop in and enjoy. If you’re up for a little walking, you can park your car downtown and walk across the two bridges for picturesque views of the Mississippi River channel below and the surrounding areas, and the boats and barges below.
Marquette – Joliet Bridge
Connecting Marquette, IA and Prairie du Chien, WI, the Marquette – Joliet Bridge crosses the Mississippi River near St. Feriole’s Island in Prairie du Chien. The bridge is often referred to as the Prairie Bridge or the Marquette Bridge by local residents and leads visitors from Iowa into downtown Prairie du Chien. Some nearby places that are perfect stops for Great River Road travelers are The Fort Crawford Museum – Great River Road Interpretive Center and the Villa Louis State Historical Site – Great River Road Interpretive Center on St. Feriole’s Island to learn more about the area and its history. Downtown Prairie du Chien is also filled with boutiques, shops, and unique eateries to get to know the community and stop in to shop or eat.
The Julien Dubuque Bridge
One of two bridges that cross the Mississippi River in Dubuque, IA, The Julien Dubuque Bridge is the most southern bridge of the two leading into Illinois before taking Great River Road travelers north into Wisconsin on Hwy 35. The Julien Dubuque Bridge crosses 803 feet of the Mississippi River channel and rises 592 feet up the rushing water below. After crossing the bridge, Highway 35 runs through East Dubuque, Illinois before heading north into the Wisconsin river road towns of Rutledge and Keiler. To help you plan your trip, there is a rest stop along the Great River Road near Kieler, Wisconsin where you can pick up some tourist information and take in a great view of the Mississippi River before heading further up the road into Wisconsin.