Scenic Routes of Iowa

Aside from the standard Interstate, US, state, and county road markers, you will find several other markers along Iowa's highways designating scenic and historic routes. If you have additional information or routes to add to this list, please let me know.

Sources cited include the state highway map, the DeLorme Iowa Atlas and Gazetter, newspaper articles, and brochures on Iowa's scenic byways. Distances for most byways were calculated via Google Maps.

Images for the Delaware Crossing and River Bluffs Scenic Byways and the Glacier Trail were provided by Jeff Morrison, and the image for the Glacial Trail Scenic Byway was provided by Mike Ehret.

NOTE: This page, like all others on this site, is not affiliated with the Iowa Department of Transportation. For the DOT's official Scenic Byways page, click here.

Jump directly to route:
State byways:
  • Delaware Crossing
  • Driftless Area
  • Glacial Trail
  • Grant Wood
  • Great River Road
  • Historic Hills
  • Iowa Valley
  • Lincoln Highway
  • Loess Hills
  • River Bluffs
  • Western Skies
  • Future Scenic Byways
  • Other routes:
  • Amana Colonies Trail
  • Cody Trail
  • Dragoon Trail
  • Dvorak Memorial Highway
  • Glacier Trail
  • Herbert Hoover Highway
  • Hiawatha Pioneer Trail
  • Iowa River Greenbelt
  • Mormon Trail Auto Tour
  • Northern Iowa River Greenbelt
  • Watta Way
  • State and National Scenic Byways

    Overview

    (current)


    (1993-2011)
    In August of 1993, Iowa state officials designated four routes as "Scenic Byways" as an attempt to boost tourism. The Grant Wood, River Bluffs, Western Skies, and Woodlands (later renamed Historic Hills) Scenic Byways were the original four. The Iowa Valley Scenic Byway was added in 1998, and on July 11, 2000, the Driftless Area Scenic Byway and Glacial Trail Scenic Byway (then known as the Old O'Brien Glacial Trail) were designated while two new segments were added to the River Bluffs Scenic Byway. The Delaware Crossing Scenic Byway was dedicated on July 14, 2002. All of them were marked by special "Iowa Scenic Byway" signs until the fall of 2011, when each scenic byway received its own unique marker. During that time the Lincoln Highway, Loess Hills Scenic Byway, and the Great River Road were incorporated into the state byway system. (The Great River Road's signage did not change because of its status as a multi-state scenic route.) Three additional scenic byways, plus extensions of the Driftless Area and Historic Hills Scenic Byways, were announced on October 31, 2016; they are listed under Future Scenic Byways below.

    More information can be found at the Iowa's Byways official website.
    Delaware Crossing Scenic Byway
    This 36-mile loop in Delaware County starts and ends in Hopkinton. It follows County Roads D47, X31, D42, and X29; partly-unpaved 267th Street; and County Road X21 from Hopkinton toward Manchester. South of Manchester it turns onto unpaved 221st Street before going northward to County Road D22 (old US 20) via 205th Avenue (old IA 116 (I)). From that point it follows D22 and IA 38 back to Hopkinton.
    Driftless Area Scenic Byway

    This follows 93 miles of state and county roads between Postville and IA 76 in Allamakee County. Specifically, it follows:

    • County Road B38, County Road X16, Smithfield Drive (unpaved), County Road X26, Big Foot Road (mostly unpaved), Linton Drive (unpaved), and Old Sixteen Road (unpaved) from Postville to IA 76
    • IA 76 and County Road B25 to Harpers Ferry
    • County Road X52, Collins Ridge Road (unpaved), County Road A52 (unpaved), County Road X42, and County Road A52 from Harpers Ferry to Waukon
    • IA 9 from Waukon to Lansing
    • IA 26 from Lansing to New Albin
    • County Road A26 along the Upper Iowa River to the junction with IA 76.
    On October 31, 2016, it was announced that a 44-mile loop through Winneshiek County, including Decorah, will be added to the byway; the routing of this new segment is unknown at this time. Signing is expected to be completed by the summer of 2018.
    Glacial Trail Scenic Byway
    This 36-mile loop in northwest Iowa was known as the Old O'Brien Glacial Trail before 2009, and should not be confused with the Glacier Trail in Hardin County. It starts and ends at the intersection of IA 10 and Clay County Road M36 north of Linn Grove. It follows M36 southward to Buena Vista County Road C16, and C16 westward to Cherokee County Road M12 before joining IA 10 again southeast of Sutherland; it runs eastward along IA 10 to the M36 intersection.
    Grant Wood Scenic Byway
    This 64-mile route starts at US 151 and runs eastward to the Mississippi River. Attractions include Grant Wood's art colony in Stone City and the grave of Iowa's first governor in Andrew. This route follows:
    • County Roads X28 and E28 through Stone City to Anamosa (this segment was added in 2011 when the new signs were placed)
    • IA 64 from Anamosa to Maquoketa
    • IA 62 from Maquoketa to Andrew (home of Iowa's first governor)
    • County Road E17 from Andrew to Springbrook
    • County Road Z15 from Springbrook to Bellevue
    • A 19-mile branch of this route starts at IA 64 and follows Main Street in Maquoketa, County Road Y31, 63rd Street, and County Road Y31 (former IA 428) from Maquoketa to Maquoketa Caves State Park, and County Roads Y31 and E17 eastward to Andrew.
    Great River Road National Scenic Byway
    This route along the Mississippi River runs from Canada all the way down to Louisiana. (There are actually two routes, one on each side of the river). On June 15, 2000, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation designated this route as one of 30 new National Scenic Byways in the United States and one of two in Iowa. Signs designating it as one of "America's Byways" were put up in October 2003.

    Iowa's 326-mile segment of the Great River Road follows:

    • IA 26, from the Minnesota state line at New Albin to Lansing
    • County Road X52 from Lansing to Harpers Ferry
    • Winfield Road, 1st Street, and Chestnut Street in Harpers Ferry
    • County Road X52 (the former IA 364) and IA 76 from Harpers Ferry through Marquette to McGregor
    • County Road X56 (including the former IA 340) from McGregor to Guttenberg
    • Kosciusko Street, 3rd Street, Haydn Street, River Park Drive, and Schiller Street in Guttenberg
    • US 52 from Guttenberg to Millville
    • County Road C9Y from Millville through North Buena Vista, Balltown, and Sherrill to Sageville
    • US 52 from Sageville through Dubuque, St. Donatus, and Bellevue to near Sabula
    • US 67 from near Sabula through Clinton, Camanche, Princeton, Le Claire, Riverdale, and Bettendorf to Davenport
    • Business US 61 through Davenport
    • IA 22 from Davenport through Buffalo to Muscatine
    • Business US 61 and County Road X61 from Muscatine to Toolesboro
    • County Road X99 (formerly IA 99) from Toolesboro through Oakville to Burlington
    • Des Moines Avenue, Bluff Road, Main Street, South Main Drive, and Madison Avenue in Burlington
    • County Road X62 and US 61 from Burlington to Fort Madison
    • Business US 61 through Fort Madison, then US 61 to north of Montrose
    • Mississippi River Road, 1st Street, Pine Street, Water Street, and Elm Street through Montrose, then County Road X28 to Keokuk
    • River Road, Rand Park Terrace, Grand Avenue, 7th Street, Orleans Avenue, and 4th Street in Keokuk
    • US 136 from Keokuk to the Missouri state line

    Jamie Jensen's book Road Trip USA (Moon Travel, 1999) includes a tour of the Great River Road, featuring a segment on northeast Iowa.

    Historic Hills Scenic Byway
    This is an 84-mile route through southeast Iowa, passing through several state forests and the villages of Van Buren County (including Keosauqua and Bentonsport). It was known as the Woodlands Scenic Byway before it was renamed in April of 2006. The route follows:
    • County Roads T61, T7J (mostly unpaved), and V17 from US 34 north of Blakesburg to Drakesville
    • The former IA 273 and US 63 from Drakesville to Bloomfield
    • County Road J40 from Bloomfield through Keosauqua to Bonaparte
    • County Road W40 and IA 2 from Bonaparte to Donnellson
    • A 21-mile branch route, following County Road J3T and part of the former IA 273 from Moravia to Drakesville, was added to the byway at the same time that it was renamed.
    On October 31, 2016, the Iowa DOT announced that a 7-mile segment through Moravia westward to the Honey Creek Resort on Lake Rathbun (presumably following County Road J18) will be added to the byway. Signing of this segment is expected to be completed by mid-2018.
    Iowa Valley Scenic Byway

    This 75-mile route starts near the Meskwaki settlement, runs through the Amana Colonies, and ends in Marengo. The byway follows:

    • County Roads T47 and E49 (old US 30) from US 30 through Montour to Tama
    • US 63 and County Road E64 from Tama to Chelsea
    • County Road E66 from Chelsea to Belle Plaine
    • IA 21 and IA 212 from Belle Plaine to Marengo
    • US 6 and US 151 from Marengo to Amana
    • IA 220 and County Road F15 from Amana back westward to Marengo.
    Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway
    America's original "Main Street", this route, designated in 1914, originally ran from Council Bluffs to Clinton in Iowa en route from San Francisco to New York City. The entire route became US 30 in 1926, and that highway has gone through many alignment changes over the years. Many red, white, and blue markers were painted along telephone poles along this route. Starting in April 2011 the Iowa DOT began placing signs marking the Lincoln Highway as a state heritage byway. Several "loop" routes were also signed along alternate Lincoln Highway alignments.

    I have set up a page of Lincoln Highway photos in the Photo Gallery, while Jeff Morrison has his own Lincoln Highway Photo Gallery featuring photos that were taken for his photojournalism class in the fall of 2002. James Lin's Lincoln Highway Page and the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association's official website have additional information on this route.

    At 378 mainline miles plus several loops, the Lincoln Highway is the longest scenic byway in Iowa. As signed, it follows:

    • Broadway in Council Bluffs, and County Road L20 from Council Bluffs to Missouri Valley
      • Loop: US 30 from County Road L20 westward into Nebraska
    • US 30 from Missouri Valley to Woodbine
      • Loop: Niagara Trail (gravel) and County Road F50 southwest of Logan
      • Loop: 240th Street (gravel), Parker Trail (gravel), and 231st Street (dirt) to the US 30/IA 44 junction
      • Loop starting at US 30 and 225th Street: Quincy Trail and 215th Street (both gravel) to US 30 south of Woodbine
    • Lincoln Way (brick) and Bus Brown Drive in Woodbine, then US 30, 180th Street (gravel), Sawyer Trail (gravel), 166th Street (gravel), Spokane Avenue (gravel), 128th Trail (gravel), and County Road L66 to Dunlap
    • US 30, Pierrepont Street, 2nd Street, Eaton Street, US 30, IA 37, and 12th Street in Dunlap
    • Dunlap Street (gravel), US 30, Pearl and Clark Streets in Dow City, County Road M14, and Arion Avenue (gravel) from Dunlap to Arion
    • Western Avenue, 2nd Street, Main Street, 3rd Street, State Street, Catherine Street, Grace Street, and 6th Street in Arion, then Lincoln Way, Q Avenue, and US 30 to Denison
    • US 30, M Avenue (gravel), US 30 again, and 390th Street (gravel) from Denison to Westside
    • 1st Street (blacktop), Clinton Street, US 30, Park Street, and 3rd Street in Westside
    • 400th Street (gravel) and County Road E35 (mostly gravel) from Westside to Carroll
    • 3rd Street, Carroll Street, and US 30 through Carroll
    • US 30, 200th Street (gravel), and County Road N58 to Ralston, and County Roads E39, N65, and IA 25 to Scranton
      • Loop: Idaho Street in Glidden and 210th Street (gravel) to County Road N58 north of Ralston
    • State, Main, Elm, and Kendrick Streets in Scranton, then County Road E53 through Jefferson to Grand Junction
    • IA 144, Main Street in Grand Junction, 222nd Street, US 30, B Avenue, 3rd Street in Beaver, 217th Street (gravel), C Avenue (gravel), US 30, County Road E41, and 219th Street to Ogden
    • Division Street, 8th Street and Walnut Street in Ogden, then County Road E41 to Boone
    • Mamie Eisenhower Avenue, Marion Street, 7th Street, Story Street, and Mamie Eisenhower Avenue in Boone
    • County Road E41, R Avenue (gravel), 205th Street (gravel), IA 17, 210th Street, U Avenue (gravel), and 220th Street (gravel) from Boone to Ames
    • Ontario Street, Hyland Avenue, Sheldon Avenue, and Lincoln Way in Ames, then County Road E41 through Nevada and Colo to State Center
    • 9th Avenue NW, 3rd Street NW, 3rd Avenue NW, Main Street, 5th Avenue SE, and 4th Street SE in State Center, then County Road E41 to Marshalltown
      • Loop: 230th Street (gravel) between State Center and E41 near Lamoille
    • Lincoln Way, South 9th Street, Main Street, South 3rd Avenue (IA 14), Anson Street, South 12th Avenue, and Olive Street in Marshalltown
    • Shady Oaks Road, US 30, IA 146, Main Street in Le Grand, US 30, County Road T47, and County Road E49 from Marshalltown to Tama
      • Loops: IA 146 and County Road E49 between Le Grand and Montour, and Battleground Road, 324th Street, and Meskwaki Road (all gravel) on the Meskwaki Settlement
    • 13th Street, Harding Street, 9th Street, Siegel Street, 5th Street (across the Lincoln Highway Bridge), and Business US 30 in Tama
    • US 30, County Road E66, Station and Irish Streets in Chelsea, County Road E66, and IA 21 from Tama to Belle Plaine
    • 13th Street, County Road E66, County Road V40, and US 30 from Belle Plaine to Cedar Rapids
      • Loop starting at the junction of IA 21 and County Road E66: 77th Street (gravel) in Benton County and 7th Avenue, 19th Street, and 8th Avenue in Belle Plaine, ending at 13th Street
    • 16th Avenue SW, West Post Road, Johnson Avenue, A Avenue NW, 15th Street NW, 1st Avenue (Business US 151), 10th Street SE, 8th Avenue SE, and Mount Vernon Road in Cedar Rapids, then County Road E48 to Mount Vernon
      • Loop starting at the intersection of 1st Avenue and 10th Street SE in Cedar Rapids: 1st Avenue in Cedar Rapids; Marion Boulevard, 7th Avenue, 13th Street, 5th Avenue, 31st Street, 3rd Avenue, 35th Street, and Munier Road in Marion; then IA 100, US 151/IA 13, Martin Creek Road (gravel), Travis Road (gravel), Bloomington Road (gravel), and O'Connor Road (gravel) to County Road E48
    • 1st Street and Lisbon Road in Mount Vernon, Main Street in Lisbon, US 30, Old Lincoln Highway (gravel), 1st Street in Mechanicsville, Old Lincoln Highway (gravel), and US 30 through Stanwood to Clarence
    • County Road X64, 150th Street, US 30, Vermont Avenue, Old Lincoln Highway (gravel), and 155th Street (gravel) to Lowden
    • Washington Avenue (County Road Y24) and Main Street in Lowden, then Old Lincoln Highway and 233rd Street (gravel) to Wheatland
    • Wright Street, Vine Street, Williams Street, Washington Street, Bennett Street, and Lincoln Way in Wheatland, then 235th Street, 154th Avenue (gravel), and US 30 to Calamus
    • Davenport Street, Spring Street, 2nd Street, Grove Street, and 5th Street in Calamus, then 245th Street, County Road Y52, 250th Street (gravel), and 220th Avenue (gravel) to Grand Mound
    • Sunnyside Street, Jensen Street, Fulton Street, Lincoln Street, Clinton Street, Washington Street, and Prairie Lane in Grand Mound, then 243rd Street (gravel), 237th Avenue (gravel), and US 30 to De Witt
    • 11th Street, 10th Street, 5th Avenue, and 11th Street in De Witt, then County Road E48 and US 30 to Clinton, and US 30, US 67, and IA 136 through Clinton to the Illinois state line
      • Loop into Clinton: County Roads Z36 and F12, which becomes 13th Avenue North in Clinton
      • Loop in the Lyons district of Clinton, near the site of the original Lyons-Fulton Bridge: US 67/IA 136 (North 2nd Street), Main Avenue, Grant Street, 23rd Avenue North, and Harding Street, then back to Main Avenue and North 2nd Street to end at the US 67/136 split.
    Loess Hills National Scenic Byway

    (current)


    (1991-2011)
    This 220-mile route through western Iowa was designated in 1991. It was also named a National Scenic Byway on June 15, 2000. In addition to the mainline, or "spine", route, there are 16 excursion loops along the way; those are signed with the name of the loop in place of the Loess Hills byway name. The route follows:
    • IA 12 and I-29 from Akron through Sioux City to Sergeant Bluff
      • Ridge Road Loop: Plymouth County Roads C38, C43, and K18, starting and ending at IA 12
      • Butcher Road Connection: Follows gravel Butcher Road in Plymouth County between IA 12 and County Road K18
      • Stone Park Loop: Follows a series of park roads entirely within Stone State Park in Sioux City
    • County Roads D38, D25 (formerly IA 982), and K67, and IA 141 from Sergeant Bluff to Smithland
      • Smokey Hollow Loop: Starts at IA 141 and follows County Road D25, Kossuth Avenue (gravel), Knox Avenue (gravel), and 290th Street (gravel) to Oto, where it follows IA 31 to IA 141 in Smithland.
      • Stagecoach Trail Loop: Follows County Road K67, 335th Street, and Oak Avenue (all gravel) between IA 141 and County Road L12 in Rodney
    • County Roads L12, E16, and L20 from Smithland to Castana
      • Wilderness Loop: Continues southward on County Road L12 at the junction with E16 before following a series of gravel roads — Nutmeg Avenue, Oak Avenue, 160th Street, and Olive Avenue — to County Road L20.
      • Larpenteur Road Connection: Follows County Roads L12 and L14 (Larpenteur Memorial Road) to IA 175 in Turin
    • IA 175, IA 37, and County Road L16 from Castana to Moorhead
    • IA 183 and IA 127 from Moorhead to Logan
      • Preparation Loop: Follows IA 175, County Road L14, and County Road E60 between Turin and IA 183 southwest of Moorhead.
      • Fountainbleau Loop: Starts and ends at IA 183 in Pisgah, following County Roads F20 and L14, Eden Avenue, 165th Trail, Geneva Place, 124th Trail, and Imperial Place back to F20 (all gravel, except for the bituminously-surfaced F20)
      • Orchard Ridge Loop: Follows County Roads F20L and L23 between IA 183 in Pisgah and IA 127 in Magnolia
      • Sawmill Hollow Run: Starts at IA 127 and follows County Roads L20 and L23 to IA 127 in Magnolia
    • US 30, County Roads F58, L34, and G8L (formerly IA 191), and US 6 from Logan to Council Bluffs
      • Hitchcock Loop: Starting at County Road L34, it follows I-680, I-29, and County Roads G14 (gravel), L20, L36 (partially gravel), and G14 (gravel) to L34
    • IA 192, South Expressway in Council Bluffs, US 275/IA 92, County Road L35, and US 275 from Council Bluffs to Tabor
      • Pony Creek Loop: Deacon Road (gravel) and US 34 between County Road L35 and Glenwood
      • Waubonsie Loop: Starting at US 34/275 in Glenwood, it follows County Road L45 (partly bituminous and partly gravel) to US 275 north of Tabor
    • County Road J18 from Tabor to Thurman
    • County Road L44 from Thurman to Hamburg
      • Pleasant Overview Loop: Follows County Road J34; Foote, Main, Illinois, and Filmore Streets in Sidney; IA 2; County Road L68 to Riverton; County Road J46; and IA 2 to L44 near Waubonsie State Park
      • Spring Valley Loop: Follows 222nd Street and 270th Avenue, starting and ending at County Road L44.
    • US 275 from Hamburg to the Missouri border
    River Bluffs Scenic Byway
    Starting and ending at Marquette, this 106-mile loop runs through the hills of northeast Iowa. Among the attractions along this route are Montauk (a former governor's home, located at Clermont) and the Volga River State Recreation Area. The route follows:
    • US 18, US 52, and IA 13 from Marquette to Elkader
    • IA 13 and County Road C24 from Elkader to Fayette
    • Washington Street and Water Street in Fayette
    • IA 150 from Fayette to West Union, then County Roads W42, B40, Eagle Road (unpaved), and Deerfield Road (unpaved) to Clermont
    • County Road B60 from Clermont to St. Olaf
    • County Road B65, IA 13, and US 18 from St. Olaf back to Marquette.
    A 6-mile segment of County Road B40 and US 18 between County Road W42 and US 18 at Clermont (a paved alternative to a gravel segment) and a 21-mile branch following County Roads X3C and C7X between Elkader and Guttenberg were both added to the route in 2000.
    Western Skies Scenic Byway
    This 103-mile route through western Iowa is advertised as "the road less traveled." Attractions along this route include the De Soto National Wildlife Refuge and the Danish communities of Kimballton and Elk Horn. The route follows:
    • County Road P28 from I-80 at Stuart (exit #93) to IA 44 at Panora
    • IA 44 from Panora westward to US 30 via Guthrie Center, Kimballton, and Harlan.
    • US 30 from the IA 44 junction to I-29 (exit #75) at Missouri Valley.
    • One 29-mile branch of the route runs from US 59 north of Harlan and County Road F32 through Westphalia and Panama to US 30 at Woodbine; it then continues westward along US 30.
    • Another 10-mile branch of the route runs from Kimballton through Elk Horn to I-80 (exit #54) via IA 173.
    Future Scenic Byways
      On October 31, 2016, the Iowa DOT approved three new scenic byways that are expected to be signed by the summer of 2018:
    • Bridges Byway: This will follow 82 miles of roads in Madison County, focusing on the county's famous covered bridges and the birthplace of John Wayne in Winterset, among other destinations.
    • Jefferson Highway Heritage Byway: This will follow the original route of the Jefferson Highway between the Minnesota and Missouri borders, roughly following US 65, 30, and 69.
    • White Pole Road Byway: The original route of US 6 (now County Road F65) through Adair, Casey, Menlo, Stuart, and Dexter will become an official state byway.

    Other Scenic Routes and Historic Trails

    Amana Colonies Trail

    This 15-mile circular route follows US 6, US 151, and IA 220 through the Amana Colonies. It is marked with rectangular brown signs with the name of the route in white text.

    Cody Trail

    A new 26-mile trail appeared in northern Scott County, birthplace of William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, during the spring of 1999. It follows:

    • County Road Y64 between Eldridge and Long Grove
    • County Road F41 between Long Grove and Park View
    • County Road Y68, 290th Street (St. Ann's Road), County Road Z16, and County Road F33 between Park View and McCausland
    • County Roads Z30 and F51 between McCausland and US 67 at Le Claire
    Dragoon Trail
    This trail in the Des Moines River valley commemorates the path of the 1835 U.S. Dragoons (the country's first mounted infantry unit). It starts with two branches originating from Fort Dodge and Webster City that join near Stratford; from there it runs through Boone and Des Moines to the Red Rock Dam between Pella and Knoxville. The trail, which is roughly 200 miles long, contains several signed alternate routes.

    A promotional brochure that was published in May 1994 contains a map of the route and all of its alternates. Using that and the Iowa DOT's PDF county maps to pinpoint rural street names and road surfaces (paved unless otherwise noted), the Dragoon Trail follows:

    • Fort Dodge to Stratford, starting at the Fort Museum in Fort Dodge: Kenyon Road, Avenue C, Avenue B, River Road, 235th Street, Riverside Trail, County Road P59, County Road D33 through Dolliver Memorial State Park, County Road D43 (former IA 50) to Lehigh, County Road P73, gravel roads (320th Street, McGuire Bend Road, 320th Street again, and Washington Avenue), and County Road D54 to IA 175.
      • Alternate between Otho and Lehigh: County Road D33, County Road P59, and County Road D43.
      • Alternate connecting the two branches: County Road D46 between County Road D43 in Lehigh and Big Bear Road in Hamilton County.
      • Alternate south of Lehigh: County Roads P73 and D54 between 320th Street and Washington Avenue. (The mainline runs closer to the Des Moines River, but the alternate is paved.)
      • Alternate along the Des Moines River (entirely gravel): 340th Street, Skillet Creek Avenue, and River Road from County Road D54 to IA 175 west of the Des Moines River bridge.
    • Webster City to Stratford: Superior Street in Webster City, IA 17, 280th Street (gravel), County Road R27, 320th Street (gravel), Bell's Mill Road (gravel), County Road D46, Big Bear Road (gravel), and County Road R21 to IA 175.
      • Alternate: Closz Drive in Webster City, Inkpaduta Avenue (gravel), 258th Street (gravel), and County Road R27 between IA 17 and County Road D46.
    • Stratford to Boone: County Road D54, IA 175, gravel roads (River Road, 394th Street, 396th Street, and Vasse Avenue) in southern Webster County, gravel roads (Juniper Road, 118th Street, and J Avenue) in northern Boone County, County Road E18, gravel Juniper Road north of Fraser, Kale Road in Fraser, gravel 156th Street and 166th Drive out of Fraser, County Roads R21 and E26 north of Boone, Story Street in Boone to US 30.
      • Alternate from Fraser: Kale Road, County Road E26, gravel roads (188th Road, 192nd Street, J Avenue, 200th Street*, Juneberry Road, 208th Street, and J Avenue again), County Road E41, County Road R18, and US 30 to the junction with County Road R23/Story Street in Boone.
      • *The Wagon Wheel Bridge over the Des Moines River has been closed to vehicular traffic since June 29, 2010, and nearby portions of 200th Street have been abandoned.
    • Boone to Des Moines, from US 30: County Road R23 (old IA 164) into Ledges State Park, County Road E52 and a series of gravel roads (P Avenue, 260th Street, and Peach Avenue) east of the park, County Road E57, County Road R26, County Road E62, IA 210 to Madrid, IA 17, former and current IA 415 through Polk City, NW 84th Avenue west of Ankeny, NW 37th Street, Horseshoe Drive past the Saylorville Lake Visitors Center, NW 37th Street again, NW Toni Drive, NW 66th Avenue, NW 26th Street, and Morningstar Drive to Aurora Avenue on the north edge of Des Moines.
    • Through Des Moines: Aurora Avenue, 6th Avenue, Birdland Drive, Saylor Road, Penn Avenue, University Avenue, East 6th Street, Robert D. Ray Drive, Locust Street, East 7th Street in front of the State Capitol, Grand Avenue, 3rd Street (SB) and 2nd Avenue (NB), Court Avenue (EB) and Walnut Street (WB), Water Street across the Raccoon River near its mouth*, SE 1st Street across the Des Moines River, Scott Avenue, SE 6th Street, Hartford Avenue, SE 22nd Street, Evergreen Avenue, SE 34th Street, and Army Post Road to US 65.
      • "Bus Route": Follows Holcomb Avenue and Saylor Road between 6th Street and Penn Avenue instead of Birdland Drive; this route probably exists to avoid a low-clearance overpass on Birdland.
      • Alternate: From the intersection of 2nd and Grand Avenues downtown, it follows Grand westward to 5th Street in West Des Moines; from there it follows 5th Street**, Railroad Avenue, IA 28, Park Avenue, George Flagg Parkway, Fleur Drive, and Locust Street back to 3rd Avenue. It is only signed in one direction.
      *Water Street is no longer open to vehicles near Principal Park. The recommended route around it would be to continue on 2nd or 3rd Avenue, depending on the direction, then continue on SW 2nd Street to Jackson Avenue to SW 1st Street.
      **On June 3, 2005, 5th Street between Vine Street and Railroad Avenue in West Des Moines was changed from a one-way street going south to a one-way street going north. Signs for the Dragoon Trail have been removed from this area, so the recommended route is to follow Vine for one block eastward to 4th Street.
    • Des Moines to Lake Red Rock: US 65 northward to SE Vandalia Road, SE 116th Street, Brown and McKinney Streets in Runnells, IA 316, a series of gravel roads (Dubuque Street, 40th Avenue, Erbe Street, 60th Avenue, Gear Street, and 85th Place) in Marion County, County Road G40, IA 14 across the Mile-Long Bridge over Lake Red Rock, County Road G28, and County Road T15 across Red Rock Dam.
      • Alternate: IA 14 southward from G40 to Business IA 92 in Knoxville, Business and old IA 92 east of Knoxville, and County Road T15. The main and alternate routes both end at the Lake Red Rock Visitors Center at the south end of the dam.
    A separate 4-mile long "1835 Dragoon Trail", with different markers than the rest of the route, is signed along Old IA 163, Pella Avenue, L Street, C Avenue, D Street, and 3rd Avenue in Oskaloosa between IA 163 and IA 23.
    Dvorak Memorial Highway
    In the summer of 1993 this former auto trail in northeast Iowa, named for Czech-born musician Antonin Dvorak, was resurrected with new signage. The 36-mile route begins at the Minnesota state line and follows County Road V58 through Cresco to Protivin, where it follows County Road B16 (including the former IA 325) through Spillville and US 52 to its southern end in Calmar.
    Glacier Trail
    This is a former auto trail that was established in 1918 and registered with the Iowa State Highway Commission on September 6, 1921. It originally followed the general route of US 65 north of Hampton, a series of county roads between Hampton and Marshalltown, and the general routes of US 30, IA 146, and US 63 south of Marshalltown. A history of the Glacier Trail from the Iowa DOT can be found here.

    The Glacier Trail is signed for about 25 miles through Hardin County along Business County Road S56 in Ackley, County Road S56 from Ackley to Eldora, IA 175 through Eldora, and County Road S62 south of there.
    Herbert Hoover Highway
    Originally designated in the 1920s as a spur from the Lincoln Highway to West Branch (home of Herbert Hoover) and Iowa City, this 45-mile route was revived by local promoters in 1987. It starts at the intersection of Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue, near the Old Capitol, and follows:
    • Clinton Street, Market and Jefferson Streets (one-ways), and Rochester Avenue out of Iowa City.
    • County Road F44 and IA 38 from Iowa City through West Branch to Tipton
    • IA 130 and County Road Y14 from Tipton to US 30 at Lowden
    Hiawatha Pioneer Trail
    This meandering route through Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois was created by the American Petroleum Institute in 1961. After several conferences with the four states' governors, including one in Amana in September 1963, it was officially dedicated on May 15, 1964. The trail in Iowa split into north and south routes in Toledo before they re-joined in Davenport. Both branches were marked on state highway maps from the mid-1960s through 1975. In June 2008 the Iowa DOT decided to abandon the trail since none of the four states were actively sponsoring it anymore and began removing the remaining trail markers, although some scattered markers remain along the route. More information about the trail's history can be found here.

    The approximately 750-mile north branch followed:

    • US 71 from the Minnesota state line to Spencer
    • US 18 from Spencer to near Whittemore
    • IA 15 and IA 3 from near Whittemore to Pocahontas
    • IA 4, IA 7, and Business US 169 from Pocahontas to Fort Dodge
    • Old US 20 (now County Roads D20 and D25) from Fort Dodge to Blairsburg
    • US 69 from Blairsburg to Garner
    • US 18 from Garner to Charles City
    • US 218 from Charles City to Nashua
    • IA 346 and US 63 from Nashua to New Hampton
    • IA 24 from New Hampton to Calmar
    • US 52 from Calmar to Decorah
    • County Road A52 from Decorah to Waukon
    • IA 9, County Road X16, County Road B38, and IA 51 from Waukon to Postville
    • US 52 from Postville to Bellevue (a branch followed IA 13 and IA 3 through Elkader and Strawberry Point)
    • IA 62 from Bellevue to Maquoketa
    • IA 64 and County Road E28 from Maquoketa to Anamosa
    • US 151 and Business US 151 from Anamosa to Cedar Rapids
    • 16th Avenue SW (old US 30) and US 30 from Cedar Rapids to Toledo
    • US 63 and US 6 from Toledo to South Amana
    • IA 220 and US 151 through the Amana Colonies
    • US 6 (including County Road F58, formerly IA 927) from the Amana Colonies to the Illinois state line (a branch followed County Road X30 into West Branch)

    The approximately 400-mile south branch followed:

    • US 30 from Toledo westward into Ames
    • US 69 from Ames to Des Moines
    • IA 163 from Des Moines to Monroe (it was signed along 163's old alignment through Monroe)
    • IA 14 from Monroe to Knoxville
    • IA 5 from Knoxville to Albia
    • US 34 from Albia to Mount Pleasant
    • US 218, IA 16, and IA 1 from Mount Pleasant to Keosauqua
    • County Road J40 from Keosauqua to Bonaparte
    • County Road W40 and IA 2 from Bonaparte to Fort Madison
    • US 61 and County Road X62 from Fort Madison to Burlington
    • County Road 99 (formerly IA 99) from Burlington to Wapello
    • US 61 and IA 92 from Wapello to Muscatine
    • IA 38 and US 61 from Muscatine to Davenport (where it had joined the mainline route at US 6).
    Iowa River Greenbelt Scenic Drive
    This 32-mile route runs along the Iowa River from Alden to Eldora, entirely within Hardin County. It follows:
    • Starting at County Road D20: Main Street and River Drive in Alden, G Avenue (gravel), 125th Street (gravel), County Road D15, and River Road, Union Street, Cedar Street, and Rocksylvania Avenue in Iowa Falls
    • County Road D15, MM Avenue, OO Avenue, 155th Street, Q Avenue, 160th Street, SS Avenue, 170th Street (all gravel except for part of MM Avenue), and County Road S56 from Iowa Falls to Steamboat Rock
    • County Road S56 and IA 175 from Steamboat Rock to Eldora, ending at County Road S62
    Mormon Trail Auto Tour Route
    Designated in 1996 (the sesquicentennial of the Mormons' trek across Iowa), this route roughly follows the Mormons' westward journey from Nauvoo, Illinois, into Utah. The 314-mile route through Iowa follows:
    • I-680 and I-29 from the Nebraska border through Council Bluffs
    • IA 92 from Council Bluffs to Greenfield
    • IA 25 from Greenfield to Creston
    • US 34 from Creston to Osceola
    • US 69, County Roads J20 and R69, and IA 2 from Osceola to Donnellson
    • US 218 from Donnellson to US 61 near Montrose
    • US 61 and IA 2 from US 218 through Fort Madison across the Mississippi River
    Northern Iowa River Greenbelt Scenic Drive
    This is an approximately 50-mile route along the Iowa River Greenbelt between I-35 near Thornton and Alden, following:
    • County Roads B65 and S14 between I-35 east of Thornton and Meservey
    • County Road B63, Timber Drive (gravel), 100th Street (gravel), and Taylor Drive (gravel) before splitting into west and east branches:
      • West Branch Alternate: 105th Street, Reed Avenue, 112th Street, Reed Avenue again, County Road C12, and Reed Avenue again to 140th Street outside of Belmond (all gravel except for C12)
      • East Branch Alternate: Taylor Avenue (gravel), then Luick's Lane, Main Street, 6th Avenue NW, and 3rd Street NW in Belmond before ending at Reed Avenue
    • 140th Street (gravel), Page Avenue (gravel), 150th Street (gravel), O'Brien Avenue (gravel), County Road C25, Quincy Avenue (gravel), 190th Street (gravel), Reed Avenue (gravel), 205th Street (gravel), US 69, IA 3, Union Avenue (gravel), 220th Street (gravel), County Road R65, County Road C48 (gravel), Washington Avenue (gravel), 260th Street (gravel), and County Road S13 from Belmond to Dows
    • County Road S13, Balsam Avenue, 60th Street, Apricot Avenue, 55th Street, Youngblood Avenue, Yankee Avenue, Wright Avenue, Oakland Drive, Dogwood Avenue, 25th Street, Eagle Avenue, Hardin Street, DD Avenue, 105th Street, and EE Avenue (all gravel except for S13 and 60th Street) to Alden, where it connects to the Iowa River Greenbelt Scenic Drive in Hardin County.
      • Altamont Moraine Alternate Route: Starting from County Road S13 north of Dows, County Road C47, Cardinal Avenue, 90th Street, Eagle Avenue, 80th Street, Finch Avenue, County Road S13, Oakland Drive, Fir Avenue, and EE Avenue (all gravel except for C47 and S13), ending at 105th Street in Hardin County
    Watta Way
    Stylized as "wAttA wAy", this approximately 115-mile loop through Pottawattamie County (hence the name) was created by the Pottawattamie County Tourism Promotion Committee in 2012. Starting and ending in Council Bluffs, it follows:
    • US 6 and North Broadway/County Road L20 northward to Honey Creek, then turning around at Honey Creek southward to Crescent
    • County Roads G36 and G8L from Crescent through Underwood to Neola (the recommended alternate to avoid the gravel segment of G36 is County Roads L34 and G30)
    • County Road G18 from Neola through Minden to Avoca
    • IA 83 from Avoca to Walnut
    • County Roads M47 and G30 from Walnut to US 59
    • US 59 from County Road G30 through Hancock and Oakland to County Road G66
    • County Road G66 from US 59 through Macedonia to County Road L35 (the recommended alternate to avoid the gravel segment of G66 is County Road M16 and IA 92 through Treynor)
    • County Road L35, Harry Langdon Boulevard, 16th Avenue, and IA 192 to US 6 in Council Bluffs

    Back to the Iowa Highways Page


    © 1998-2016 by Jason Hancock / Last updated November 7, 2016