Illinois Route 146
|Maintained by IDOT|
|Length:||92.93 mi (149.56 km)|
|Existed:||1926 – present|
|West end:||Route 34 / Route 74 in East Cape Girardeau|
| US 51 in Anna
I-57 in Anna
US 45 in Vienna
I-24 in Vienna
|East end:||IL 1 in Cave-in-Rock|
|Counties:||Alexander, Union, Johnson, Pope, Hardin|
Illinois Route 146 (IL 146) is an east–west state highway in the U.S. state of Illinois. It serves the extreme southern region of the state, commonly called Little Egypt or the Illinois Ozarks. IL-146 is 92.93 miles (149.56 km) long. An east–west highway, it serves Hardin County, Pope County, Johnson County, and Union County. These are some of the least-populated counties in Illinois. IL-146 serves two sections of the Shawnee National Forest.
IL-146 generally follows a land route of the Trail of Tears, a trail taken by bands of approximately 9,000 Cherokee who were forced to march through southern Illinois from November 1838 until January 1839 as part of a U.S. government mandated relocation. In 2006, the state of Illinois designated IL-146 as a historic highway and route of the Trail of Tears.
IL-146 passes through an area of Illinois noted for scenic beauty and significant tourist visitation. State-operated parks and recreation areas on or adjacent to IL-146 include, from west to east:
- Union County Conservation Area near Jonesboro
- Trail of Tears State Forest near Jonesboro
- Cache River State Natural Area near Vienna
- Dixon Springs State Park near Dixon Springs
- Rauchfuss Hill State Recreation Area near Golconda
- Rose Hotel State Historic Site in Elizabethtown
- Cave-in-Rock State Park in Cave-in-Rock
SBI Route 146 originally ran from East Cape Girardeau east to Golconda. In 1937 it was extended east to Elizabethtown, replacing a leg of Illinois Route 34. In 1942 the road was extended east to Cave-In-Rock. There have been no changes since 1942.