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The Top 5 Scenic Byways in Iowa

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The Top 5 Scenic Byways in Iowa

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The Hawkeye State is usually known as “flyover nation,” the center a part of the US
vacationers move over on their option to and from the coasts. Others pace throughout on freeways. However Iowa
is nicely value driving the backroads, notably in summer time when vibrant inexperienced, completely manicured
fields of corn and soybeans blanket hills throughout the state. Add coated bridges, historic primary streets
and majestic views of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and also you’ve received a number of quintessential All-
American street journeys. One route we gained’t cowl on this article is the Lincoln Freeway, the nation’s first
cross nation street for vehicles. Established in 1913, it ran from New York to San Francisco. We’ll
embrace Iowa’s phase in a future article profiling the whole Lincoln Freeway.

  1. Nice River Highway – All-American Highway
  2. Loess Hills – Nationwide Scenic Byway
  3. Western Skies
  4. White Pole Highway
  5. Lined Bridges

Nice River Highway – All-American Highway – 330 miles (+ 52-mile aspect journey to Discipline of Goals Film Website)

There are a lot of superlatives to explain the Mississippi River. It’s one among Earth’s largest river programs
in measurement and habitat variety. In North America, it’s a significant migration route for birds and fish. And it’s
one of many world’s most vital business waterways. Not like extra remoted, much less developed main
rivers across the globe, roads typically parallel the whole 2,552 miles of the Mississippi. Known as the
Nice River Highway, you may observe the river’s size from its Minnesota headwaters to the Louisiana
delta.

Iowa’s part of the Nice River Highway is without doubt one of the greatest, mixing Native American historical past and excessive
bluff overlooks with aquariums, a cave tour, nature preserves and a beloved baseball discipline.
By the point the Mississippi River reaches the Hawkeye State, it’s already meandered a number of
hundred miles by means of Minnesota. Beginning within the far northeast nook of Iowa, State Freeway 26
enters New Albin. Minneapolis, the closest main metropolis, is 180 miles northwest. Des Moines lies 240
miles southwest. A mixture of county, state and US highways make up the route. Highway numbers change
as you drive south alongside the river so all the time hold look ahead to the acquainted Nice River Highway signal.

From New Albin, it’s 11 miles to the subsequent small city, Lansing, which has a bridge crossing to
Wisconsin. This a part of Iowa is very picturesque with hills, river valleys and limestone bluffs
coated in hardwood forest, which means summer time shades of inexperienced and luxurious fall colours. You’re
additionally now driving by means of the Higher Mississippi River Nationwide Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The Driftless
Space Training and Customer Middle has interpretive displays and data on leisure
actions resembling climbing, canoeing, kayaking, fishing and looking.

From Lansing, it’s 24 miles south to Effigy Mounds Nationwide Monument. People have lived within the
area for greater than 10,000 years and the monument has 206 prehistoric mounds, from 850 to 2,500
years outdated. Their origin and objective are unknown though the oldest, conical-shaped mounds had been
used for burials. Some 1,400 years in the past, mounds within the type of bears and birds had been created. The
monument is a crucial Native American website with forest climbing trails and excessive bluffs overlooking the
Mississippi River. Nevertheless, the animal shapes may be arduous to make out when standing so shut.
They had been probably seen from far-off, notably when bushes had been eliminated. Be sure you cease on the
customer heart for displays and data.

A couple of minutes south lies one of many many enticing cities alongside the river. Based within the mid-1800s,
McGregor’s brick buildings home eating places and outlets promoting items, antiques, books, garments and
ice cream. Throughout the river is the a lot bigger Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin with quick meals, large field
shops and a number of other campgrounds.

The tenting spot with the most effective views is Pikes Peak State Park, simply south of McGregor. With 11
miles of trails, the park affords quite a lot of climbing terrain. Straightforward walks result in Bridal Veil Falls and bluff
overlooks with sweeping views of the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers. At 1,130
ft, the park has the best bluff alongside the Mississippi and like Colorado’s Pikes Peak, can be
named after Zebulon Pike, the explorer and U.S. brigadier normal.

From Pikes Peak State Park, it’s 18 miles to Guttenberg, one other attention-grabbing riverside city and a
good place to see the inside workings of the Mississippi. There are 29 dams on the Higher Mississippi
River that create swimming pools deep sufficient for giant towboats to navigate. The dams have locks which elevate
and decrease vessels between ranges. In operation since 1937, Lock & Dam Quantity 10 is in
Guttenberg, with a viewing platform the place you may watch ships and boats transfer by means of the locks.
The close by Lockmaster Home Heritage Museum is the final remaining lockmaster home on the
Higher Mississippi River that includes artifacts, antiques, pictures and different memorabilia. The Guttenberg
Fish Hatchery additionally deserves a fast go to. Situated downtown, it raises northern pike fry for the Iowa
Division of Pure Assets and has an aquarium with native fish species and displays.

The granddaddy of Mississippi aquariums is farther down the river some 40 miles. Chartered in 1837,
Dubuque is Iowa’s oldest metropolis and one of many first European settlements west of the Mississippi River.
At this time, this comfy, attractive midsize metropolis options restored brick buildings, colourful murals,
breweries, artwork galleries and a powerful theater and music scene. The primary-rate Nationwide Mississippi
River Museum & Aquarium has quite a few indoor and outside shows on a big campus. Native
American historical past, river heritage, the Nationwide Rivers Corridor of Fame, dugout canoes, river otters and a
slew of wildlife and nature displays make it a prime draw.

One other main attraction within the space is a 52-mile roundtrip detour west of Dubuque. The Discipline of
Goals Film Website in Dyersville is the place many scenes from the beloved 1989 baseball traditional had been
filmed. You’ll be able to run the bases, play a pickup sport, tour the Kinsella farmhouse and stroll out of rows
of corn, identical to the ghosts of baseball legends. And if you happen to’re bored with tenting, take into account the “Kinsella
Expertise” the place you spend the evening within the three-bedroom house.

Again in Dubuque, the Nice River Highway continues south 4 miles to Mines of Spain, a big
recreation space of woods and prairies that additionally homes the E.B. Lyons Interpretive and Nature
Middle. Though there’s no tenting, different actions embrace canoeing, kayaking, picnicking, looking,
climbing and spectacular images of the Mississippi River, downtown Dubuque and Illinois from
bluff overlooks.

From excessive above, it’s a few miles to an underground journey, Crystal Lake Cave. Found
in 1868, the cavern opened to the general public in 1932. At this time, guides lead small teams by means of the cave’s
well-lit passages on a ¾-mile lengthy tour.

From Crystal Lake Cave, the Nice River Highway follows US 52 south. In eight miles, search for the
photogenic Saint Donatus Church on the left as you move by means of the city of the identical identify. The
church seems much more spectacular from a distance, framed by farmland and forest as you climb the
hills to the south. From Saint Donatus, it’s 10 miles to Bellevue, one other enticing, historic riverside
city. Simply south is Bellevue State Park with extra spectacular river views, climbing trails, tenting and
a nature heart and butterfly sanctuary.

From Bellevue, keep on US 52 till it reaches US 67 and proceed south to Clinton, a big city with
all of the requirements. Bellevue to Clinton is 37 miles after which drive one other 23 miles to LeClaire the place
the Buffalo Invoice Museum is value a peek. The long-lasting frontiersman, US Military scout and showman
was born in LeClaire in 1846. William F. Cody was an knowledgeable marksman, incomes his nickname whereas looking buffalo, aka American bison. Within the late 1800s, Buffalo Invoice’s Wild West present started touring
the US and Europe and is essentially credited with creating most of the early stereotypes of
the American West.

Leaving LeClaire, the Nice River Highway intersects busy I-80 earlier than persevering with south into Bettendorf
after which Davenport, two of the 4 Quad Cities. The others, Moline and Rockford, are situated throughout
the river in Illinois. After passing by means of downtown Davenport, the Nice River Highway follows IA 22
south to the subsequent spotlight. The Nahant Marsh is a 382-acre protect subsequent to the Mississippi River.
There’s an schooling heart and trails by means of the wetlands. Birding is standard in addition to
photographing the lots of of blooming summertime water lilies.

From Nahant Marsh, it’s 15 miles to Wildcat Den State Park, one other lovely place to hike and
camp. Many guests come to see the Pine Creek Grist Mill, the oldest working grist mill between the
Mississippi River and Rocky Mountains. Whereas Wildcat Den showcases forest and sandstone bluffs,
drive 5 miles farther to Fairport State Recreation Space which affords tenting and leisure
actions subsequent to the Mississippi River.

From Fairport, observe the river seven extra miles to Muscatine. Within the late 1800s, the Mississippi was
the perfect habitat for large clam beds, creating the world’s largest pearl button trade. Overfishing
and the event of plastic buttons ultimately ended Iowa’s pearl button enterprise. At this time,
Muscatine is a reasonably riverside city with eating places and outlets. To study extra concerning the clams and
button trade, go to the informative, elegant Nationwide Pearl Button Museum.

Subsequent, the Nice River Highway travels 24 miles to the Toolesboro Indian Mounds Nationwide Historic
Landmark. Iowa’s Hopewell tradition flourished for 5 hundred years, from about 200 BCE to 300
CE. This website preserves a number of massive burial mounds and features a small museum and prairie
demonstration plot.

From the mounds, it’s 27 miles to Burlington, a big city with a peculiar attraction. Whereas San
Francisco has Lombard Avenue, many in Burlington take into account Snake Alley to be the world’s crookedest
avenue. Guinness World Information provides Lombard Avenue the nod however you need to nonetheless try Snake
Alley. Inbuilt 1894, it’s in all probability safer to stroll up and down than drive an RV! Close by, the Heritage
Middle Museum is housed in a restored library in-built 1898. Highlights embrace Native American
relics, immigrant tales and artifacts plus a first-rate fossil assortment of historic marine animals referred to as
crinoids.

From Burlington, historic interpretation continues 19 miles down the Nice River Highway at Previous Fort
Madison. This dwelling historical past museum is a charming reproduction of the unique, erected in 1808 because the
first American army fort within the higher Mississippi area. Previous Fort Madison was a significant buying and selling put up.
Guides in interval uniform and costume show commerce, clothes, gear and weaponry.
The city of Fort Madison has well-preserved historic storefronts from the late 1800s. It additionally lays
declare to the world’s largest and Mississippi River’s solely remaining double swing-span bridge with
an higher stage for automobiles and a decrease half for trains.

One other 25 miles and the Nice River Highway reaches its closing Iowa city, Keokuk. Search for the George
M. Verity Riverboat Museum on the riverfront. In 1927, the US authorities constructed the paddle boat
upstream in Dubuque to revive river transportation and transfer barges from St. Louis, Missouri to St.
Paul, Minnesota. In 1961, the George M. Verity was retired from service and donated to Keokuk.
From right here, the Nice River Highway crosses into Missouri, the place we’ll proceed the journey quickly.

Loess Hills – Nationwide Scenic Byway – 220 miles (+ 70 miles for aspect journeys)

This far-west Iowa street journey parallels the Missouri River from the Missouri state line to Akron, simply
throughout the river from South Dakota. The Loess Hills are the opposite vital geographical function
right here. 12,000 to fifteen,000 years in the past, winds deposited tiny soil particles. Known as loess, the windblown
sediment covers many of the Midwest, making a number of the world’s richest farmland. In Iowa, the
particles additionally shaped 200-foot-high bluffs that observe the Missouri River for about 200 miles, reaching
as much as 15 miles huge. Solely China has comparable loess deposits.

The byway begins in Hamburg within the southwest nook of Iowa, 55 miles southeast of Omaha,
Nebraska. Observe Bluff Highway six miles north to the two,000-acre Waubonsie State Park. With its
expansive views, the park provides a terrific overview of the Loess Hills and the plains of Nebraska and
Missouri River within the distance. The Sundown Ridge Nature Path runs by means of the center of the park and
is a part of an in depth path system for climbing, mountain biking and horseback using. Tenting, fishing,
looking and snowmobiling are additionally standard.

Highway numbers change usually alongside this route, so observe the Loess Hills Scenic Byway indicators and your
GPS. From Waubonsie State Park the byway passes close to Sidney, house to the 100-year-old Sidney
Iowa Championship Rodeo. Bull and bronc using, steer wrestling, staff roping, barrel racing and
mutton busting are a number of the occasions held yearly in late July or early August.

Again on the byway, proceed half-hour north to Mile Hill Lake, west of Glenwood. One other scenic
overlook has views of the Loess Hills. The park’s lake has fishing plus there’s climbing and looking.
From Mile Hill Lake, it’s 20 miles to Council Bluffs, a medium-sized metropolis which sits instantly throughout the
river from Omaha, Nebraska’s largest metropolis. Council Bluffs is a crossroads. Busy I-80 passes
east and west whereas I-29 goes north and south. Railroads made town one among America’s largest rail
facilities, which you’ll be able to find out about on the Union Pacific Railroad Museum downtown. From the
museum, it’s a ten-minute stroll to the Historic Common Dodge Home, the 1869 Victorian mansion of
Grenville Dodge, a Civil Struggle main normal who additionally achieved fame and fortune as “the best
railroad builder of all time.” And earlier than that, in 1804 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led their
well-known expedition exploring the American West. In July of that yr, Lewis and Clark arrived in
Council Bluffs. Southwest of downtown, the Western Historic Trails Middle has displays on the duo
in addition to the Oregon, California and Mormon trails. Run by the Nationwide Park Service, there are additionally
strolling and biking paths alongside the Missouri River. North of town, the Lewis and Clark Monument
has scenic river views and commemorates the boys’s historic assembly with the Otoe and Missouri
tribes.

North of Council Bluffs, there are a number of outside recreation areas alongside the byway. Hitchcock
Nature Middle affords tenting, climbing, looking and a 45-foot-high birds of prey commentary tower on
1,500 acres of prairie, savanna and woodlands. That is additionally close to the beginning of the Western Skies
Scenic Byway the place you’ll discover:

  • DeSoto Nationwide Wildlife Refuge
  • Wilson Island State Recreation Space
  • Watson Steam Prepare & Depot
  • Harrison County Historic Village & Iowa Welcome Middle

From the Harrison County Historic Village in Missouri Valley, observe the Loess Hills Scenic Byway
north to the Murray Hill Scenic Overlook with extra panoramic views that’s standard with birders and
budding botanists who come to look at the wildflowers and yucca, a plant considerably oddly out-of-
place as its extra usually related to the western U.S.

From Murray Hill, proceed 9 miles to Preparation Canyon State Park, one of many extra rugged
parks within the coronary heart of the Loess Hills with picnicking, backcountry climbing and ten hike-in tenting websites.
From Preparation Canyon, it’s 22 miles to Lewis and Clark State Park, one other historic spot from the
1804 expedition. There’s a customer heart with displays and a full-sized replica of Lewis and
Clark’s keelboat. The lakefront park has boating and fishing with a contemporary campground, playground
and seashore.

Lewis and Clark State Park is a little bit of a detour west of the byway so head east 11 miles by means of
Onawa and Turin to get again within the Loess Hills. From Turin, it’s 50 miles north to Sioux Metropolis with
grocery shops, quick meals, RV provides and extra. By now, it’s clear this street journey has quite a lot of
excellent pure areas and Stone State Park isn’t any exception. Situated six miles northwest of
Sioux Metropolis, this “city wildlife sanctuary” options climbing, biking and tenting. The park’s prime
attraction can be among the finest locations in Iowa to study concerning the Loess Hills. Contained in the Dorothy
Pecaut Nature Middle are prairie, wetland and woodland displays with native reptile and fish
shows, a fowl viewing space and butterfly and wildflower gardens.

One other excellent nature protect is 12 miles north of Stone State Park. Damaged Kettle
Grasslands is Iowa’s largest remaining prairie the place greater than 200 bison roam, many descending
from a small herd reintroduced to the world in 2008. Together with the close by 5 Ridge Prairie, there
are quite a few climbing trails with nice views.

From right here, the byway leaves the Loess Hills, ending ten miles north in Akron. After all of the driving,
climbing and tenting, take into account going one other 22 miles east to Le Mars, the place the Blue Bunny manufacturing facility
makes “extra ice cream than every other location on earth!” The corporate operates the Wells Customer
Middle & Ice Cream Parlor in downtown with interactive shows and dozens of flavors of ice cream,
sherbet and sorbet.

Western Skies – 145 miles

This street journey combines two state scenic byways, Western Skies and White Pole Highway, because it explores
west-central Iowa. Operating north of and parallel to I-80, the route is a soothing various to the hectic
freeway, usually crowded with semitrucks. The actual pleasure of this itinerary is the sum of its elements. Nobody
cease actually stands out however collectively, the assorted roadside sights, nature preserves and historic
websites create a heat and fuzzy, small city Americana expertise.

Situated half-hour north of Omaha, the Western Skies Scenic Byway begins close to the Nebraska/Iowa
border in Missouri Valley. That is additionally the place Western Skies intersects the Loess Hills Scenic Byway
(article above). Simply west of city is the DeSoto Nationwide Wildlife Refuge that includes bottomland
forests, tall grass prairie and wetland habitats. The Missouri River separates Iowa from Nebraska and
the refuge is centered round DeSoto Lake, an oxbow lake that was as soon as a bend within the river.
Migrating waterfowl and bald eagles make birding a prime draw together with fishing and looking. On the
customer heart, you may see a group of 250,000 artifacts excavated from the buried wreck of the
Steamboat Bertrand which sank in 1865.

DeSoto is a day-use solely space however if you wish to say you’ve roughed it the place the explorers Lewis and
Clark camped in 1804, drive instantly south of the refuge to Wilson Island. The state recreation
space affords campsites, climbing trails and picnicking set amongst cottonwood bushes.

From right here, Missouri Valley is 10 miles northeast. Close to downtown, Watson Steam Prepare & Depot is a
enjoyable place to take youngsters. It’s a duplicate of a small-town depot and contains artifacts, shows and a significant
assortment of miniature brass locomotives. A restored steam prepare and 2013 Union Pacific diesel
reproduction provide rides from Might by means of October. 

Heading northeast on US 30, it’s 4 miles to the Harrison County Historic Village & Iowa
Welcome Middle the place quilts, carriages, barbed wire and a number of other restored buildings are on exhibit.
This can be a great spot to ask questions and choose up brochures for scenic byways in addition to the Lewis
and Clark Nationwide Historic Path. Exterior is Harrison County’s Freedom Rock, a colorfully painted
tribute to army veterans. All of Iowa’s 99 counties have one and the rock that began all of it might be
visited afterward this street journey once we drive White Pole Highway.

From the Welcome Middle, proceed northeast on US 30 for 14 miles to Woodbine after which drive 15
miles east to Panama. Indicators and GPS will assist you navigate as street numbers change whereas this
byway passes by means of rolling hills of symmetrical corn rows, punctuated by silos and barns. Search for
large quilts, too. Although the development began in Ohio, as we speak many Iowa barns and different buildings sport 8-
foot wood quilts in cheerful patterns and colours.

Panama after which Westphalia, one other 4 miles east, had been based by German immigrants and
function architecturally spectacular church buildings. Behind St. Boniface in Westphalia there’s a German
Heritage Park with a number of historic buildings and statues. Round city, many indicators are labeled
“Strasse,” German for avenue.

From Westphalia, there are a number of close by leisure alternatives. Rosman Glendale Golf
Course is a 9-hole public golf course that’s 4.5 miles east of city. Proceed one other 5 miles to
Dinesen Prairie State Protect, a 20-acre remnant of native tallgrass prairie that’s “by no means been
turned by a plow.” It options 114 forms of vegetation and quite a lot of birds and animals. One other 13 miles
is Prairie Rose State Park. Surrounded by hills with a big lake, it’s standard for boating, climbing and
fishing. You’ll be able to camp right here, too. Harlan isn’t too far-off, both. It’s the most important city within the space with
gasoline, pharmacies, eating places and such. It’s value repeating that you just’ll want GPS as a result of there’s no
direct path to any of those locations. Put together to zigzag!

Whereas German affect is obvious round right here, Danish can be prevalent. From Harlan, drive east to
Kimballton the place you’ll be greeted by Danish flags, velkommen (welcome) and posthuset (put up
workplace). Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid & Statue Backyard incorporates a reproduction of the
well-known sculpture in Copenhagen plus eight extra statues depicting his best-loved fairy tales.
Kimballton can be house to Audubon County’s Freedom Rock, the place you’ll see The Little Mermaid
holding Danish and American flags.

From Kimballton it’s three miles south to Elk Horn the place Kringleman Pastries sells Danish treats.
The city has two main sights. Inbuilt Denmark in 1848, America’s solely genuine working
Danish Windmill sits prominently on Essential Avenue and is open for excursions. And shut by the Museum of
Danish America has historic displays, a family tree and schooling heart and hip design retailer in an
spectacular Danish-style construction.

From Elk Horn, it’s 12 miles east to Hamlin and Darrell’s Place, a nondescript constructing with a
crowded parking zone. For 4 a long time, the family-owned restaurant has been serving homecooked
meals, together with “Iowa’s #1 Breaded Pork Tenderloin.” Imagine me, it’s scrumptious and reasonably priced.
From Darrell’s Place, you should definitely drive 5 minutes north to see Albert, the “World’s Largest Bull” in
the city of Audubon. Fabricated from metal and concrete, proper right down to his gonads, Albert stands 30 ft tall
and lives in a park with a contemporary campground. That is additionally the beginning of the T-Bone Path which runs
21 miles south and is standard with bikers, walkers and runners.

From Audubon, it’s 32 miles south after which east to Panora and the Guthrie County Historic
Village and Museum with a number of restored historic buildings together with a prepare depot, normal retailer,
legislation workplace and log cabin.

From Panora, the byway continues south. In 10 miles, search for the 81-acre Nations Bridge Park
the place you’ll discover tenting, picnicking, kayaking, fishing, disc golf and horseshoes. The park has
a number of nature trails for fowl and wildlife watching. It’s one other 5 miles south to Stuart the place
Western Skies meets White Pole Highway and this street journey continues within the article under.

White Pole Highway – 26 miles

This byway makes a terrific extension to the Western Skies Scenic Byway (see above). And since
White Pole Highway parallels I-80, it’s a calmer, way more attention-grabbing various to the freeway in your
option to and from bustling Des Moines, the state’s capital and largest metropolis.

From downtown Des Moines, it’s 30 miles on I-80 west to Dexter and the beginning of White Pole Highway.
It’s named after an early 1900s dust street that adopted the prepare tracks west. At this time the byway runs
close to I-80 for some 26 miles. White Pole Highway was Iowa’s first licensed auto route. Cities had been
situated each few miles with white poles marking the way in which, encouraging motorists to journey the “Nice
White Manner.” White Pole Highway is a superb journey for teenagers as a result of it’s a brief and candy treasure hunt that
features a chocolate store.

The primary gem to seek out is Dexter’s Roundhouse. Inbuilt 1916 and listed on the Nationwide Register of
Historic Locations, the Roundhouse is fabricated from hole blocks and has a 30-foot-high dome that’s solely
supported by the round wall. This distinctive construction is believed to be the one constructing of its variety in
Iowa and probably the nation, and it nonetheless features as a group heart internet hosting all types of occasions.

5 minutes north of Dexter are two different intriguing websites. As you drive Dexfield Highway, search for a
roadside marker and plow on the fitting. President Harry Truman, his spouse Bess, daughter Margaret
and 100,000 different followers got here to Dexter for the 1948 Nationwide Plowing Match. A bit farther north
and also you’re at Racoon River close to what was once Dexfield Park, website of a 1933 shootout between legislation
enforcement and the five-member Barrow Gang. Clyde Barrow and his girlfriend Bonnie Parker had been
its two most notorious members, committing at the very least a dozen murders and a bunch of robberies. Together with W. D. Jones, Bonnie and Clyde escaped this shootout however Clyde’s brother, Buck died from his wounds and his spouse, Blanche was blinded in a single eye and went to jail. The FBI calls Bonnie and Clyde the “most infamous crime couple in American historical past” and the 1967 movie traditional starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway is a must-watch, though it could be too intense for the children! The Dexter Museum has displays on each the shootout and plowing match. Drew’s High quality Sweets predates each occasions. The shop has been handmaking goodies in the identical Dexter location by the identical household since 1927.

From Dexter, proceed west 5 miles to Stuart, the place White Pole Highway intersects the Western Skies
Scenic Byway (see article above). Search for the outdated First Nationwide Financial institution that Bonnie and Clyde
robbed in 1934. Stuart has a quaint downtown with outlets and the enticing Historic Clocktower
Constructing. A few blocks away is Saints Middle, as soon as voted the “Most Lovely Church in Iowa”
by Des Moines Register readers. After an arsonist set hearth in 1995, it was restored and is now a group cultural facility and occasion venue. One other renovation value a photograph is Stuart Depot, a refurbished 1879 railroad depot.

From Stuart, White Pole Highway continues west 5 miles to Menlo. Search for the Pleasant Gasoline Station
Man on the fitting. The neon signal has been welcoming motorists since 1934. Then, previous city take a
left onto State Freeway 25 the place you’ll cross I-80 earlier than arriving at Freedom Rock, about 5.5 miles
from Menlo. Following the Western Skies Scenic Byway, we handed a number of of those boulders, as
detailed within the earlier article. That is the unique Freedom Rock, coated with patriotic scenes
honoring army servicemembers. It will get repainted yearly with a special thanks to veterans.
Artist, Iowa native and State Consultant Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II was impressed by the film
Saving Non-public Ryan to color this primary large stone in 1999. He’s now created a Freedom Rock in all of
Iowa’s 99 counties.

From Freedom Rock, zigzag 5.5 miles west the place White Pole Highway enters Casey. The customer heart
and museum are situated contained in the renovated St. Joseph’s Catholic Church which has lovely
stained glass home windows. The large mural at Veterans Memorial Wall & Park Gallery can be value a
look.

From Casey, it’s eight miles to the byway’s finish in Adair, recognized for its brick streets and buildings.
Opened in 1924, the Adair Viaduct is a three-span arch bridge listed on the Nationwide Register of
Historic Locations. And simply to the southeast of the small downtown is the Smiley Face Water Tower.
One other 5 minutes west of Adair marks the spot the place Jesse James and his gang carried out the
world’s first shifting prepare theft in 1873. The outlaws thought $75,000 of gold was aboard however
solely discovered $2,000 within the prepare’s secure. So, they robbed the passengers and made off with one other
$1,000.

Lined Bridges – 85 miles

Southwest of Des Moines is a day journey that travels from Iowa’s capital and largest metropolis to a picturesque
small city well-known for its coated bridges and Hollywood connections. Winterset is the birthplace of
John Wayne. It’s additionally the setting for The Bridges of Madison County, a 1995 movie primarily based on Robert
James Waller’s bestselling novel. The film was directed by Clint Eastwood who costarred with
Meryl Streep. Each the bridges and John Wayne play a big function on this scenic route.

From downtown Des Moines, it’s a simple 40-minute drive to Winterset. Erected between 1870 and
1884, there are six bridges to see in and round city. The covers had been constructed to guard the wood
decks and trusses from rain and snow, stopping decay and decay. And whereas every bridge is wonderful, all of them kinda look the identical. One thing to remember as you’re planning the day. You’ll be able to stroll
throughout every bridge; Cedar Bridge is the one one which’s drivable.

  • Hogback Bridge (1884): Situated on a well-maintained gravel street six miles northwest of Winterset, this bridge is 97 ft lengthy and lies in its authentic location.
  • Cedar Bridge (1883): At 76 ft lengthy, that is the one bridge you may drive throughout. It’s on a paved street that modifications to gravel not removed from the bridge. Situated 3.5 miles northeast of Winterset, Cedar Bridge was moved to this spot in 1921. That is essentially the most well-known bridge because it’s pictured on The Bridges of Madison County e book cowl and was featured within the movie. Sadly, the unique bridge is gone. Practically destroyed by arson, it was rebuilt and re-opened in 2019.
  • Holliwell Bridge (1880): This bridge was within the film and nonetheless sits in its authentic location, off a gravel street 5.5 miles southeast of city. It’s additionally the longest bridge at 122 ft.
  • Imes Bridge (1870): The oldest of the surviving bridges within the space, 81-foot-long Imes sits proper subsequent to State Freeway 251 in St. Charles, 13 miles east of Winterset. It’s one other mile east to I-35 which fits instantly north to Des Moines.
  • Roseman Bridge (1883): One other movie star, this magnificence is 107-feet-long and nonetheless lies in its authentic location, 9.5 miles southwest of Winterset on a gravel street. Close by Pammel Park options the Harmon Tunnel. Inbuilt 1850, it cuts by means of a limestone ridge. The park is ready in woodlands alongside the Center River and affords tenting, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, tubing and fishing.
  • Cutler-Donahoe Bridge (1870): This 79-foot-long bridge is the one one situated on the town. It was moved to Winterset’s Metropolis Park in 1970. The park additionally options glorious views of the countryside from Clark Tower, a castle-like construction a mile south of the bridge.

Based in 1849 and anchored by the hanging Madison County Courthouse, downtown Winterset is
predictably charming with boutiques, eating places, a brewery and the nostalgic Iowa Theater, displaying
new films Fridays by means of Sundays and traditional movies on Wednesdays.

Winterset’s most well-known son is widely known at the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum, the world’s
solely museum devoted to the enduring actor. Even if you happen to aren’t a John Wayne fan, the museum is nicely
finished and interesting, notably for film buffs.

One among America’s nice artwork kinds and a interest that’s rising in recognition world wide, the Iowa
Quilt Museum has historic shows and a present store. However the most effective half is the extremely colourful
rotating displays that includes best-in-class quilters.

Simply south of downtown, the 25-acre Madison County Historic Advanced is a enjoyable walkthrough of
14 historic buildings together with a restored 1856 Victorian mansion, legislation workplace, normal retailer, fuel
station, blacksmith store and schoolhouse. A big barn is full of early farm gear, barbed
wire shows, wagons and carriages.

Learn more about the thought, research, planning and promotion that goes into the designation of our beautiful Scenic Byways.

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