The National Scenic Byways Program is a grass-roots collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes certain roads as All-American Roads or National Scenic Byways based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities.
For an Interactive Map of the Great River Road, Click Here.
The Great River Road
The Great River Road (County Rd 161) in DeSoto County has been designated as a National Scenic Byway which is part of the National Scenic Byways Program and is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. The trail route parallels the Mississippi River, one of the greatest commercial waterways in our country and used extensively by the American Indians in the past. A journey along the Great River Road opens the door to Mississippi’s history. Often referred to as “Blues Alley,” Highway 61 takes you south from Memphis into the Mississippi Delta. Here, centuries of Mississippi River floods have created some of the world’s richest farmland. Depending on the time of the year, you’ll see cotton, rice, and soybeans being planted, grown, or harvested along the way.
The Great River Road is also host to a bike trail that begins at Walls, MS and follows The Great River Road Scenic Byway passing through Lake Cormorant to the Tunica County Line near Harrah’s Casino. Stopovers include the future DeSoto County River Park, DeSoto County’s only access to the Mississippi River.
Walls is located in Northwest DeSoto County near the Mississippi River – a region called the Delta, known for its rich, dark soil. A relatively young community, Walls was originally named Alpika, an old Chickasaw Indian word. The name was changed to Walls in 1906. Walls was named after a Captain Walls who served in the War Between the States. Captain Walls was an early settler and merchant of the region. Today, Walls is a small community rich in agriculture. Cotton, soybeans, rice and corn are planted each spring.
Lake Cormorant was originally known as Blythe in honor of Captain Green Blythe who organized and led the famous Blythe’s Battalion during the Civil War. In 1905 the community was renamed for the lake near the town which was known as Cormorant, after the large wading bird found in the area.
Great River Road Map – CLICK HERE FOR INTERACTIVE MAP