Even the drive into the town will afford some pretty spectacular scenery, as it’s located on two scenic byways: the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, and the beginning of the River Bluffs Scenic Byway.
McGregor is a postcard perfect river town situated in the Northeast Iowa bluffs near the Mississippi River. With a population of only 871, the town has a laid back, slow pace that’s perfect for a relaxing day of exploration.
The small town was nicknamed “The Pocket City” because it’s literally pocketed between the Mississippi on the east side and steep, tree-lined bluffs surrounding the rest of the town. In the fall, the scenery is sure to be nothing short of breathtaking.
Main Street in downtown McGregor is lined with beautiful historic architecture, antique stores and other specialty shops, so make sure to plan some time to wander through the the stores.
After you’ve explored the stores, you may want to pay a visit to the Froelich Foundation Museum. This museum was established in 1986 and was built with the intention of preserving the heritage of the village of Froelich, Iowa, a once thriving community with a depot, sawmill, blacksmith shop, creamery and more.
For a delicious breakfast or lunch, stop off at Cafe McGregor, a homey, diner-style eatery with a large breakfast selection, burgers & fries, sandwiches and more. Address: 211 Main St.
While you’re in the area, it’s a great idea to get outside the town and explore the nearby natural beauty. Pikes Peak State Park is just a few miles south of town, with one of the most spectacular overlooks in Iowa from a 500-foot-bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Address: 32264 Pikes Peak Rd., McGregor, IA.
The Effigy Mounds National Monument is just a few miles north of McGregor, near Harpers Ferry. The monument is a large collection of about 200 Native American-built mounds that are shaped as different animals. There’s a walking trail that you can take to explore the mounds, and the scenery along the way is also quite beautiful. Address: 151 IA-76, Harpers Ferry, IA.
Finally, if you have the time, in honor of October, you can take a boat ride through Spook Cave. The cave is said to be haunted by the souls of early explorers, so enter if you dare. Address: 13299 Spook Cave Rd., McGregor, IA.