Driftless Area Scenic Byway

The scenic 100-mile Driftless Area Scenic Byway zigzags its way across Allamakee County in northeastern Iowa.  What makes this route truly special is the beautiful topography of the area.  Centuries ago when the last glaciers passed over much of Iowa flattening and depositing glacial till, this corner of the state remained untouched.  The result is a striking region of gashed and furrowed terrain known as the “Driftless Area.”

Along this byway, the Mississippi, Yellow and Upper Iowa rivers have carved through the land to create majestic limestone bluffs, forested valleys and meandering river bottoms.  The distinctive landscape offers many panoramic vistas that have resulted in the Driftless Area Scenic Byway being rated the most scenic state byway in Iowa.

While driving this designated route, you are sure to discover historical gems nestled within the scenic landscape of the region.  Explore countryside speckled with historic stone churches, early settler cemeteries and unique bridges.  The area also features the largest collection of prehistoric American Indian burial mounds in the country at Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Develop an understanding of the areas cultural heritage by spending time in each of the five byway communities: Lansing, Churchtown, Waukon, Harpers Ferry and Postville.  Each byway community offers its own unique stories, festivals and places to explore.  These quaint countryside towns offer a plethora of opportunities to shop, enjoy outdoor recreation, relive history or dine on local cuisine all while experiencing the area’s exquisite scenery.

Travel time: 3 hours


Iowa Byways Travel Guide (PDF: 2.1MB)
Driftless Area Scenic Byway: Tear Sheet (PDF: 2.5MB)
Driftless Area Scenic Byway: Hassidic Judaism Walking Tour (PDF: 2.8MB)
Winter 2011 Newsletter (PDF: 582KB)
Winter 2012 Newsletter (PDF: 781KB)
Winter 2013 Newsletter (PDF: 656KB)