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Road Trippin' Scenic byways of Allamakee County

Scenic byways

Some people believe when it comes to travel, getting there is half the fun and the scenic byways of Allamakee county are a perfect example.

“It's not just corn, it's not just soy beans, instead you've got bluffs, you've got streams, you do still have fields but you've got so much to look at,” says Val Reinke, Executive Director, Allamakee County Economic Development and Tourism.

The Driftless Area Scenic Byway and the Great River Road National Scenic Byway both take their trek through Allamakee County providing drivers and passengers with winding turns and sweeping vistas.

The Great River Road sticks close to the Mississippi but the Driftless Area Scenic Byway snakes through the middle of the county providing plenty of stretch stops along the 100-mile route.

“It pretty much hits most of our communities and that way it opens up the door to our communities too,” says Reinke.

She adds that there is a lot of unique stops but you have to be willing to look past the pavement.

“There's so many but they're not necessarily all on the map but you have to be willing to get out there and drive and be willing to explore a little bit on a gravel road.”

One stop that’s soon-to-be is the Iowa Driftless Area Education and Visitors Center just outside Lancing.

“It's just not Lansing or Allamakee County it's the overall driftless area and if you look at the four state region of the driftless area we are respectively about right in the middle,” says Jim Janett, Executive Director, Allamakee County Conservation Board.

With plans to open in late July this interpretive stop will help you understand the area’s history from its native people to what drove its development.

“Commercial fishing, logging, then the steamboat era was another big thing where we saw a lot of the communities develop up and down the river,” says Janett.

Your travels can also take you off the road and onto the water with designated trails on the Mississippi River.

The Blue Heron Trail flows through 10 miles of river known as Pool 9.

“It's anywhere from the adventurous to the novice it can be challenging but generally it's safe for anyone in a canoe or kayak,” says Bruce Revoir, Friends of Pool 9, Board of Directors.

The experience provides a day filled with breath taking sights.

“We've been told this is the crowning jewel of the upper Mississippi River for wildlife, birding, fishing, gaming,” he adds.

Back on the road driving these scenic byways doesn’t have to take all day but it can if you take the time to take it all in.

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