Covered Bridges Scenic Byway
The Covered Bridges Scenic Byway offers visitors a journey into iconic America. Dotting the classic Iowa landscape along the byway’s 82 miles are the famed covered bridges of Madison County, immortalized in the novel, movie and musical, The Bridges of Madison County.
At the heart of Madison County and the center of Winterset stands a majestic limestone courthouse, surrounded by an authentic and thriving town square which has earned a National Historic District designation from the National Park Service. Shops and eateries ring the square with seasonal and home décor, fashion, fun finds and traditional-to-trendy menus. Explore the Iowa Quilt Museum and quilt shops in the very town where Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting was created.
Tour the John Wayne birthplace and the only museum in the world dedicated to the legendary actor and his influential movie legacy. You may even catch “The Duke” on the silver screen of the restored Iowa theater.
George Leslie Stout, who rescued precious artworks from the Nazis during World War II, was born and raised in Winterset. He was memorialized in The Monuments Men and now in a public art piece near Winterset’s courthouse square. Winterset also served as a starting place for famed horticulturist George Washington Carver who is celebrated in a pocket park on the square.
Glimpse what life was like for settlers on the plains at the Madison County Historical Complex, and enjoy the abundant natural resources for kayaking water trails, bicycling, camping or fishing at one of the county’s many recreational parks. Throughout the county you’ll find historic architecture, agriculture and rolling scenic views along the county’s North River and Middle River Valleys.
LENGTH: 82 miles
SURFACE: Paved, Gravel