This 109-mile route does a "loop tour" across Fayette and Clayton Counties in northeast Iowa. What Makes this byway special is that it passes through a truly unique region of the state that is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Bypassed by the last glacier thought to have scraped and smoothed much of Iowa's land, this area of the state is distinctive and diverse. In fact, a common nickname for the area is "Little Switzerland" due to the towering bluffs, rolling valleys and green landscape that paint the countryside as far as the eye can see.
While you drive this byway, you will also see the dynamic impact of karst topography. Described as landscape shaped by water, visible karst features along this rout e include limestone bluffs, caves, sinkholes, springs and losing (sinking) streams. To gain a firsthand experience of this topography, plan a trip to Dutton's Cave Park or fish any of the finely stocked or native trout streams.
The unique geology of the area has made this route a sought after destination for tourists and nature enthusiasts. The region is dotted with parks, nature centers, fishing hotspots, campgrounds, trails and water access points. The also features one of the largest recreation areas in the state, Volga River Recreation Area. Aquatic life can be seen at the Big Springs Trout Hatchery and Guttenberg Aquarium and Fish Management Area.
Gaze the countryside while cruising the byway and you are sure to catch a glimpse of the past. Abundant historical sites will captivate your interest and spark a desire to learn about the area's culture. Plan a visit to Motor Mill Historic Park of Montauk, home of Iowa's 12th governor, William Larrabee. See where the first successful gasoline tractor engine was built or stop by the Union Sunday School and attend a concert featuring the largest Kimball organ in the country.
Immerse yourself in the regions cultural heritage by spending time in each of the 13 byway communities. Each byway community offers their own stories, festivals and places to explore. Experience the mesmerizing view of Pikes Peak State Park, conquer the four-acre corn maze, devour the world's largest tenderloin or a 20 ounce hamburger, discover an American Indian burial mound in the shape of a bear or attend the town of Guttenberg's annual German Fest.
Travel the River Bluffs Scenic Byway and discover a road of majestic features and outdoor exploration. Your road to adventure awaits. Travel time of 4 hours.