Take a Back Road

The countryside really doesn’t get any more scenic than in Iowa. And when you hop on one of our eight state scenic byways, our heritage byway or our two national scenic byways, you’ll experience this beauty in person. From standing atop a Mississippi River bluff to stopping at a local art museum or retracing the footsteps of Lewis & Clark, each route highlights a unique feature of our state. It’s time for road trip! Who calls front seat?


Delaware_Crossing Length: 36-mile loop
Location: Delaware County, between Manchester and Hopkinton in Eastern Iowa
Beautiful nature. Magnificent museums. Awe-worthy antique shops. Rave-worthy restaurants. That’s just some of what you’ll find on the Delaware Crossing Scenic Byway. You’ll also come across more than a dozen state, county and city parks in this area on the Maquoketa River Valley.
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Length: 100-mile zig-zag route
Location: Allamakee County in Northeast Iowa
First you’ll zig. Then you’ll zag. Then you’ll wonder why you haven’t taken the Driftless Area Scenic Byway before. This corner of the state was untouched by the last glaciers, forming a gashed and furrowed terrain known as the "Driftless Area."
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Length: 36-mile loop
Location: Circles through O'Brien, Clay, Buena Vista and Cherokee counties in Northwest Iowa.
Rolling hills and forested valleys provide spectacular views as you travel the Glacial Trail Scenic Byway. Along the way, you’ll see Native American archaeological sites and restored Iowa prairies.
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Length: 80-mile trail
Location: Anamosa to the Mississippi River in Eastern Iowa
One of Iowa’s greatest artists was inspired by Iowa’s gorgeous landscape. That artist was Grant Wood. And by taking the Grant Wood Scenic Byway, you’ll get to see the inspiration that was behind much of Wood’s work.
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Length: 105-mile winding route
Location: Southeast corner of Iowa
When you hop on the Historic Hills Scenic Byway, you’ll travel through the first area of Iowa to be settled by immigrants. Quaint communities, rolling hills and extensive forest greet you on your way.
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Length: 77-mile route
Location: Tama, Benton and Iowa counties in East Central Iowa.
Are you a cultural connoisseur? Take in two distinct cultures when you travel the Iowa Valley Scenic Byway. This byway is anchored by the Meskwaki Native American Settlement in the west and the Amana Colonies in the east.
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Length: Iowa's stretch of the Lincoln Highway is 460 miles
Location: Crosses the state from Clinton to Council Bluffs
History buffs will marvel at the sites along the first transcontinental improved highway, established in 1913. Experience the charm of small-town Iowa as you pass through more than 40 communities in 13 Iowa counties.
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Length: 109-mile winding route
Location: Turkey, Volga and Mississippi River valleys in Northeast Iowa
Outdoor enthusiasts, rejoice! All along the River Bluffs Scenic Byway you’ll find outdoor activities galore, like canoeing, fishing, mushroom hunting, hiking and full-service RV camping. Known as Iowa’s “Little Switzerland,” this area is an outdoor paradise.
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Length: 142-mile path
Location: Parallels I-80 from Stuart to Missouri Valley in Western Iowa
Instead of the interstate, why not travel on the Western Skies Scenic Byway? It’s how you’ll discover Iowa’s Danish and German heritage. Stop by Elkhorn to see the Danish Immigrant Museum. Then head to Kimballton where you’ll see a bronze reproduction of the Little Mermaid sculpture that’s in Copenhagen Harbor.
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