Iowa August 13, 2021
Hop In Your Car And Take The Western Skies Scenic Byway For An Incredible 142-Mile Scenic Drive In Iowa
There are many ways to see Iowa: our home looks like a patchwork quilt from an airplane or hot air balloon, it looks like rolling hills and woodlands from a riverboat, and it looks like nearly endless fields from a tractor.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
One thing all these vantage points share are big sky views, and these big sky views of Iowa are very near and dear both to those who grew up here and to those who relocate to the Hawkeye state.
And while you can often get these sweeping vistas through a bay window of a home, one of the best ways to fully experience Iowa's sky is by vehicle.
The Western Skies Scenic Byway, for example, is a scenic drive that provides a great way to catch some of Iowa’s big sky and unique culture.
The byway is located in southwestern Iowa and stretches from the town of Missouri Valley eastward to the small town of Stewart.
A few highlights along the trip are the Harrison County Historical Village and Welcome Center on the Western side of the byway where you can learn all about the history of this region.
This area is packed with interesting things including the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, the Shipwreck Bertrand, the Watson Steam Train and Depot, and some beautiful, simple vistas of the Loess Hills and Missouri River Valley.
Traveling west, the German Heritage Park in Westphalia and the Danish towns of Elk Horn and Kimballton are packed with interesting architecture and ethnic history. Don’t miss the one-of-a-kind Danish windmill in Elkhorn.
Views are plentiful along this path, from abandoned homes with slate roofs to combines and tractors combing the fields to each season provide a fresh palette of colors and textures.
The byway ends in Stuart, where the infamous Bonnie and Clyde made their last bank robbery. Stuart also has the Saints Center For Culture And The Arts.
As interesting as each one of these stops may be, if you are really just out for a good view of the sky, then you will find your own favorite attractions along the way. Oh, and if you happen to be travelling after dark, this byway has some dark sky perfect for gazing at the stars from one end of the horizon to the other.
Interested in hopping in your car and making this trek? A travel guide including a map with descriptions of interesting points along the way can be found here (Western Skies is the second to the last byway featured in the guide) . You can also visit the Western Skies Scenic Byway Facebook Page for more info. And of course, there are other great scenic drives in Iowa in addition to Western Skies as well! Address: Western Skies Scenic Byway Public Art "Listen to the Wind", S 3rd St &, State St, Guthrie Center, IA 50115, USA