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Great River Road - Iowa

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Quick Facts
Designation: Great River Road
Designation: Iowa State Scenic Byway
Designation: National Scenic Byway
Fees: No fees are required to drive the byway.
Length, One-Way: 326 Miles (543.33 Kilometers)
Time: 2 days

General Information

Description - "The Mississippi is in all ways remarkable," said the famous writer Mark Twain. Join travelers from around the world to discover dramatic vistas of 'Old Man River' during all seasons. View soaring eagles and 100,000 migrating geese and ducks. Experience Midwest hospitality on the main streets of river towns and cities, or visit sacred sites and landscape effigies of Native Americans. You can also experience the Mississippi River on steamboats, commercial barges, and recreational crafts. This 326-mile byway provides a look into America's past, present, and future.

Mississippi History in the Midwest
The byway's story begins with the landscape: abrupt and dramatic limestone bluffs cut by glacial meltwater in the north contrast with broad sandy floodplains in the south. For thousands of years, Native Americans knew the importance of the continent's largest river. Later, its meandering course marked the political boundaries of territories, towns, cities, states, and counties of the advancing society. Today, the Upper Mississippi River and the Great River Road are national repositories of geological wonders, unparallel scenic beauty, wildlife, native vegetation, and the miracles of hydrology. The river and road are also milestones to the expansion and development of the United States and the Midwest.

Attractions - The Great River Road - Iowa is known for it's Archeology, Historical, Natural, Recreational and Scenic Attractions.

Location -

Directions from : The Great River Road consists of many country scenic roads. Look for the pilot wheel signs to guide you. From the east or west, access to the Iowa Great River Road can be found at its intersections with I-80, US 18, US 61, US 151, US 20, US 30, US 67, US 34, and US 136. The Iowa Great River Road is connected to other states' Great River Road segments in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri.

Driving the Iowa Great River Road

From Lansing to Dubuque:
  • Heading south from Minnesota's Great River Road, cross over into Iowa and travel on State Route IA 26 until you reach the city of Lansing.
  • From Lansing to Harpers Ferry, take County Road X-52.
  • From Harpers Ferry, travel on IA 364 through Yellow River State Forest until the road joins with IA 76.
  • Take IA 76 past the Effigy Mounds National Monument to the community of Marquette.
  • Travel for a few miles on Business Highway 18 to get from Marquette to McGregor.
  • As visitors travel on IA 340 from McGregor, they will pass Pike's Peak State Park. IA 340 becomes County Road X-56.
  • Turn left onto County Road C-17 and continue to the community of Clayton.
  • Follow the Great River Road and its signs to Guttenberg.
  • From Guttenberg, take US Highway 52 to Millville. At Millville, follow County Road C-9Y to the community of Turkey River.
  • Continue on C-9Y past other byway communities.
  • Turn left onto S. Mound Road. S. Mound Road then becomes Sherrill Road.
  • Drive through Sherrill and continue on Sherrill Road toward Sageville.
  • At Sageville, take US 52 to Dubuque.

    From Dubuque to Davenport:

  • From the city of Dubuque, follow US Highway 52 past St. Donatus to Bellevue.
  • As drivers continue on US 52, they will pass Bellevue State Park and reach the community of Sabula.
  • From Sabula, take US Highway 67 to Clinton.
  • Continue on US 67 past Le Claire and Bettendorf to Davenport.

    From Davenport to Burlington:

  • From Davenport, take IA 22 to Montpelier.
  • From Montpelier, continue on IA 22 to Fairport. You will pass Wildcat Den State Park on the way.
  • After Fairport, turn left onto IA 38. IA 38 becomes IA 92. IA 92 leads into Muscatine.
  • From Muscatine, take IA 92 and turn left onto Oregon Street. Oregon Street becomes Stewart Road and Stewart Road becomes X-61.
  • Travelers will pass the Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge on X-61.
  • To reach Toolesboro, turn left onto IA 99.
  • Take IA 99 past Toolesboro and other byway communities to the city of Burlington.

    From Burlington to Keokuk:

  • From Burlington, tak US Highway 61 to the Fort Madison Historical Site.
  • At the city of Fort Madison, continue on US 61 past Montrose to the city of Keokuk where they byway joins with the Missouri Great River Road.

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    Recreation Opportunities
    Activity Remarks On Site
    ICON Scenic Driving Great River Road - Iowa
    ICON Viewing Scenery Great River Road - Iowa

    More Information

    Contact Information:
    Iowa Department Tourism , , , , Phone: 515-242-4705

    Additional Information:
    Eastern Iowa Travel Region -
    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.

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


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