Elizabeth Scales Mound Road – A Motorcycle route through rural Illinois

Illinois open road
Illinois open road
Biker Bill
Freelance writer and motorcycle enthusiast
February 21, 2024

In the Driftless Area of northwestern Illinois is a quiet country road that’s a perfect back-to basics, road-and-rider motorcycle route. We’re letting you in on this hidden Midwestern gem, safety tips, and more in our rider guide.

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Elizabeth Scales Mound Road motorcycle ride map

Our map shows where you can find Elizabeth Scales Mound Road. It branches north from a major American east-west thoroughfare, US 20, so it’s a nice addition to your cross-country ride.

While one of the draws of this road is the lack of obvious attractions along the way, we’ve marked some nearby towns that are welcoming spots for visitors—Galena, Stockton, and Hanover. You’ll learn a bit more about these towns below.

Northwestern Illinois climate

This route is firmly in the Midwest—which experiences four distinct seasons—so planning around the weather’s essential. Use this chart of average temperatures and precipitation for Elizabeth to find your prime travel time.

Climate data for Elizabeth, IL

Motorcycle safety tips for Elizabeth Scales Mount Road

A beautiful country road in a rural area can lull you into letting your motorcycle safety mindset take a backseat. Have a safe ride as you keep these tips in mind.

  • You’ll be riding in rural land, so be mindful of wildlife crossing the road.

  • Expect to share the road with tractors and farm equipment.

  • Be careful of surface hazards, including farm debris and potholes.

Stops to make near Elizabeth Scales Mound Road

One of the intrinsic beauties of this road is the lack of commercial stops for you to make. It’s just a perfect ride in the Midwest countryside with minimal traffic and great curves. Below we share what makes this area of Illinois geographically unique and point you toward three nearby towns where you can rest and refuel.

The Driftless Area in Illinois

Elizabeth Scales Mound Road wanders through the hills of the Driftless Area of northwestern Illinois. This region wasn’t ice-covered during the ice ages and, as a result, is free of the glacial deposits known as drift—which is where the name comes from.

Unlike much of the surrounding area, glaciers didn’t carve this region’s landforms. Rather, the forest-covered ridges, steep hills, and deep water-cut river valleys were shaped by erosion. This type of terrain lends itself to incredible motorcycle riding roads. In Illinois, this unique topographical and cultural region is only found in the extreme northwestern corner of the state.

The Driftless Area also extends into southwestern Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, and northeastern Iowa. Wandering off the beaten path will reward you with great motorcycle roads just like the Elizabeth Scales Mound Road.


Galena is often voted one of the most charming towns in Illinois. You can enjoy small shops and restaurants in a walkable downtown full of beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings.


Stockton is Illinois’ highest town above sea level, which makes for great, panoramic views of the surrounding countryside—including the Driftless Area. A historic downtown and plenty of summer festivals make this little town a gem in northwestern Illinois.


Hanover is a riverside community with a long, fascinating history. This quaint downtown is a nice place for a bite to eat and a quick stop on your ride.

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*Data accuracy is subject to this article's publication date.