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River Bluffs Scenic Byway

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Quick Facts
Designation: Iowa State Scenic Byway
Length, One-Way: 109 Miles (181.67 Kilometers)

General Information

Description - Feeling loopy? The River Bluffs Scenic Byway lets you end where you begin. This "loop tour" is its own destination. You will view breathtaking bluffs, and wooded hill tops, as you explore the roller-coaster roads of northeast Iowa. View Eagles as they sore free over the green countryside. Perhaps you'll get our of the car to explore and chance upon a secluded cave or a mountain stream. This area was once populated by prehistoric Native American peoples and even today harbors some of their secrets. Strange mounds made in the form of birds and bears still survey the landscape. Now the land is locally known as "Little Switzerland." As you pass farmland and buildings of the surrounding communities, you'll notice the unique use of limestone in the structures. Shop at quaint towns, or go antiquing at one of the many shops along the way. If you want to continue your adventure, link up with the Great River Road, and follow the legendary Mississippi River.

Attractions - The River Bluffs Scenic Byway is known for it's Archeology, Cultural, Natural and Scenic Attractions.

Location -

Directions from : The River Bluffs Scenic Byway is a circular route but also gives drivers the option to travel out to the Mississippi and the Great River Road.

Driving the Byway

  • Begin the byway in McGregor and follow Highway 18 to Giard.
  • From Giard, travel state route 13 until you reach the turn off to St. Olaf on county road B65.
  • From St. Olaf, continue on county road B65 until the community of Gunder.
  • From Gunder drive the byway on county road B60.
  • At the community of Clermont, take county road B40.
  • From B40, turn onto county road W42.
  • Continue on county road W42 to West Union.
  • From West Union, continue on state road 150.
  • SR 150 will bring travelers to Fayette.
  • From Fayette, take county road C24 to Wadena.
  • From Wadena to Volga continue on county road C24.
  • At Volga, the byway connects again with SR 13.
  • At this point on the byway, travelers can continue on SR 13 past Elkader to the place they began.
  • or
  • Turn off of SR 13 onto county road X3C and continue to Elkport and Garber.
  • From Garber, take county road C7X to Guttenberg and end the byway there.

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    Recreation Opportunities
    Activity Remarks On Site
    ICON Scenic Driving River Bluffs Scenic Byway
    ICON Viewing Scenery River Bluffs Scenic Byway

    More Information

    Additional Information:
    Iowa Scenic Byways - Iowa offers two National Scenic Byways, Great River Road and Loess Hills Scenic Byway, close to ten state designated byways, the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.
    Northeast Iowa Travel Region -

    Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.


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