Historic Hills Scenic Byway

Don’t be surprised to find yourself sharing the road with horses and buggies on the Historic Hills Scenic Byway. It’s just one way of feeling you’ve stepped back in time on this 105- mile route winding through rolling hills, extensive forests and 20 towns with no fast food restaurants to be found.

Historic Hills is home to communities of both Mennonites and Old Order Amish. More than 100 Amish and Mennonite businesses thrive in the Drakesville and Bloomfield areas. Many are open to the public, including Milton Creamery where you can savor locally produced cheese and enjoy fresh “squeaky” curds that rival those from Wisconsin.

You can then travel east to Lee County and visit the stagecoach stop in Franklin and enjoy a bottle of wine created by Herschler Winery. This corner of Iowa was the first to be settled by Europeans and the history is still being told. You can visit Iowa’s oldest courthouse, the first church west of the Mississippi, the site of Iowa’s only Civil War battle or trace the Mormon Pioneer Trail. In the historic village of Bentonsport, merchants keep old craftsmanship alive in their specialty shops, while selling beautiful works of art, crafts and handmade goods.

With a magnificent state forest, two state parks and Iowa’s only resort state park, you’ll find plenty to do outdoors. The southern Iowa forests are renowned worldwide for white-tailed deer hunting, and variety of bird species. The Des Moines River Water Trail has 10 access points for paddling and fishing. Horseback rides on state forest and private trails are a highlight of the byway.

Spend a day or more enjoying historic districts, wonderful scenery, quaint communities and one-of-a-kind businesses as you explore the Historic Hills Scenic Byway. Southern Iowa hospitality will greet you wherever you choose to go.

 Map and Information
 Group Itinerary



LENGTH: 110 miles

SURFACE: Paved, 3-mile stretch of gravel

See Iowa from a Whole New Perspective

Whether you're seeking rest and relaxation, outdoor exploration or family adventures, the opportunities are endless.