Spiritual Destinations on the Great River Road

Unique shrines, statues, mounds, and temples border the Mississippi River. A quick stop at these Great River Road destinations can turn into a spiritual experience!


Vision of Peace (Indian God of Peace) (Saint Paul, MN)

Saint Paul hosts the world’s largest carved onyx figure! The statue is dedicated to Ramsey County’s war veterans.

Basilica of Saint Mary (Minneapolis, MN)

The basilica’s architecture and stained glass art makes it a beautiful spot to visit. The basilica also holds an art collection that spans five centuries.


Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (La Crosse, WI)

Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (La Crosse, WI)

Great River Road travelers can take a pilgrimage to visit the Blessed Virgin Mary, or known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. The holy figure is said to meet the spiritual needs of those suffering poverty in body and soul.

Dickeyville Grotto (Dickeyville, WI)

The Dickeyville Grotto shrines are hand-crafted structures—blueprint free! The structures are made of unique materials from around the world: colored glass, shells, gems, and more.


Effigy Mounds National Monument (Fairview, IA)

Effigy Mounds National Monument (Fairview, IA)

The national monument holds Native American mounds that are ceremonial and sacred grounds. The mounds are shaped as birds, bear, deer, bison, and plenty more animal figures.


Cahokia Mounds (Collinsville, IL)

Cahokia Mounds (Collinsville, IL)

A few miles west of Collinsville lies the prehistoric remains of the ancient settlement Cahokia. Cahokia was “the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico”.

Nauvoo Illinois Temple (Nauvoo, IL)

The temple is 150 feet tall and a beautiful Nauvoo spectacle. Although the temple is not open for tourist visits, its gardens and grounds are open to visitors.


Our Lady of the Rivers Shrine (Portage des Sioux, MO)

Along the Mississippi River, the tall, white statute of Mary watches over boats that pass. The name of the statue comes from the three rivers that connect a few miles from the site: Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois.


Kentucky holds numerous faith-based attractions including cathedrals and a full-size Noah Ark structure. Great River Road travelers who are exploring off the path can visit these spiritual spots further east of the Mississippi River.


Crystal Shrine Grotto (Memphis, TN)

Visit the world’s only man-made crystal cave in Memphis! With hand-crafted religious figures and bold colors, the experience is coined to be a psychedelic experience.


Although not on the Road, you can explore Arkansas spiritual sites further west. Some notable attractions include the seven-story Christ of the Ozarks and the outdoor Anthony Chapel.


The Emerald Mound (Natchez, MS)

The mound was built by the Plaquemine Native Americans, who were known to build large ceremonial centers. Researchers believe the mound was used for ritual activity due to excavated animal bones and pottery in the area.

‘Turning Angel’ Statue (Natchez, MS)

The statue was inspired by a tragic explosion at the Natchez Drug Company. Local legend says the statue turns to look at cars that pass by in the evening.


Saint Roch Chapel (New Orleans, IL)

In 1817, Yellow Fever consumed New Orleans and many people prayed to Saint Roch, the patron saint of epidemic protection. When no one died from Reverend P.L. Thevis’s church, he built the Saint Roch Chapel to make a promise of protection with the saint.

Marie Laveau’s Tomb (New Orleans, IL)

During the 19th century, Marie Laveau was New Orleans’ most famous and powerful voodoo priestess. Her burial location is said to be in the above-ground tomb of her husband’s family and a tour guide is required to visit.