Missouri is a big, beautiful state. One great way to take in the natural goods? Get in the car and go for a drive. You’ll want to get off the major highways and roadways, because these beautiful byways provide some of the best scenery our state has to offer.
1. Blue Buck Knob Scenic Byway
This byway, which stretches 25 miles between Cabool and Route 14, meanders through the gorgeous woods of Mark Twain National Forest in Ozark Hill Country. You'll want to plan plenty of time to stop and explore the route's scenic overlooks, gurgling streams and picturesque farmland.
2. Cliff Drive
This is one of Missouri's only urban scenic byways. Cutting through Kansas City, the 4.5-mile route goes through attractive Kessler Park. Gaze at limestone bluffs and forests overlooking the Missouri River bottoms.
3. Crowley's Ridge Parkway
Although this scenic byway is mostly in Arkansas, the 212-mile trip starts in the southeastern corner of Missouri. The route along dramatic Crowley's Ridge is particularly beautiful in spring, when wildflowers dot the road. Along the way, see forests, farmland, historic buildings, battlefields and orchards. Missouri sites include Malden's Historical Museum and Bootheel Youth Museum.
4. Glade Top Trail
This gorgeous 23-mile drive is the state's only National Forest Scenic Byway; it includes the Mark Twain National Forest and the Hercules Glades Wilderness Area. Be sure to stop at the route's multiple overlook pull-outs to see jaw-dropping panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
5. Historic Route 66 Byway
Take a trip on Route 66. This scenic byway, which stretches around 300 miles, goes from St. Louis on the east to Joplin on the west. Along the way, drop in on antique shops, service stations and old-school diners. Notable stops along the way include Cuba's Totem Pole Trading Post, supposedly the oldest original business along Missouri's stretch of Route 66 and The Elbow Inn in Devils Elbow.
6. Little Dixie Highway
Drive along the mighty Mississippi. This scenic byway, part of the Great River Road, takes travelers from MO 79 at the Ralls-Pike County line to just south of Hannibal. The 29-mile route includes tons for history buffs, including, of course, the Mark Twain sites in Hannibal.
7. Old Trails Road
Travel down Route 224 from Lexington to Napoleon for a scenic byway packed with history, fun, cultural sites and natural beauty. The 15-mile route, which follows the Missouri River, is the same one once used by Native Americans, fur traders, explorers, pioneers and other notable historical figures. You'll see everything from beautiful bluffs overlooking the Missouri River Basin to quaint small towns.
Which of Missouri’s scenic byways is your favorite? Which one are you dying to check out?