Iowa Byways

In Iowa, there are three national scenic byways and 11 state scenic byways.  The Great River Road Byway was conceived by Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes in 1938, and the Iowa portion became an All-American Road in 2021. The Loess Hills Scenic Byway runs through several communities and circulates millions in revenue as well as generating thousands of jobs. The Loess Hill Alliance was started in 1999 as a part of a conservatory effort by the community to declare it a National Landmark.

Byways Provide Access to Public Lands

Iowa byways provide access to the state’s most spectacular public lands, including one national park, 63 state parks, one national monument, five state forests, and three wildlife areas.

About the National Scenic Byways Program

The National Scenic Byways Program, established by Congress in 1991, recognizes historic, scenic, and culturally important roads, all of which promote economic development and tourism in communities around the U.S. There are more than 1,200 byways in all 50 states.

All scenic byways exhibit one or more of six core intrinsic qualities — scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, archaeological, or natural. For a road to be named a national scenic byway, it must first be designated a state, tribal, or federal agency scenic byway. Once achieving that, a road may apply for national scenic byway designation, but its intrinsic quality must be of regional significance. All-American Roads are the very best of the national scenic byways, demonstrating at least two intrinsic qualities of national significance.