IowaHistoricDrivingTrails

5 Historic Driving Trails to Cruise in Iowa

A cruise through the hidden backroads of Iowa can be scenic, quiet and, simply put, dazzling. But believe it or not, it can actually double as a history lesson too. The state is full of a number of driving trails that can serve as routes for a charming evening drive, or that can act as an alternative excursion that will allow you to immerse yourself in the culture of Iowa. 

Dragoon Trail

One of Iowa’s most scenic—and especially long routes—is a 200-mile corridor along the Des Moines, Boone and Raccoon rivers. This drive commemorates the path of the 1835 U.S. Dragoons—otherwise known as the country’s first mounted infantry unit. For more information, visit www.iowadot.gov

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail

The Mormon Pioneer Trail is an iconic journey in this country’s history. And this national historic trail commemorates the exploration perfectly. Between 1846 to 1869, thousands of Mormons trekked across the trail from Nauvoo, Illinois, through Iowa, and all the way on to the Great Salt Lake—a 1,200-mile trek in total. Today, it serves as a beautiful driving trail that explorers all across the United States can travel along on. For more information, visit www.nps.gov

Cody Trail

This 25-mile historic byway is as scenic as it is historic. The route honors the legacy of iconic, American figure Buffalo Bill Cody, and it also offers a glimpse of the early beginnings of this country—and the wild, wild west that helped to shape it. For more information, visit www.scottcountyiowa.gov

White Pole Road

Regarded as the “Best Marked Road” in the United States—yes, really—the drive was designated in 1910, and it has a rich history of stories via travelers all across the United States. Today, a number of exciting heritage sites are perched alongside the road.  A quick jaunt along White Pole Road can feature everything from the location of the Bonnie and Clyde shootout, to the site of the first Jesse James Gang robbery of a moving train. For more information, visit www.whitepoleroad.com

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

Lewis and Clark’s long trek across the United States is understandably regarded as one of the most iconic in American history. And today, travelers can get a taste of what exactly that journey looked and felt like—with the help of motorized vehicles and paved byways, of course. This national historic trail features marinas, nature preserves and parks along the way. For more information, visit www.nps.gov.

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