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Missouri River Valley, Iowa Travel Guide

Complete Vacation, Recreation and Tourism Information

The Missouri River flows along the western edge of Iowa from Sioux City south to the Missouri border. Two scenic byways provide views of the Loess Hills and access to historical Native American, westward expansion, and pioneer attractions. Two cities, Sioux City and Council Bluffs pay tribute to the area's past while serving as the main recreational, cultural, and entertainment destinations for western Iowa.

The Loess Hills National Scenic Byway follows the sharp ridges and bluffs of the glacier-created, silt-covered Loess Hills. These archaeologically significant hills have produced mastodon and mammoth fossils and contain much of the state's remaining prairies. A 10,000-acre section of the 650,000-acre region has been designated a National Natural Landmark. Views of the river valley, woodlands, and prairies can be seen along the 220-mile byway that follows the hills south from the Sioux City area into northern Missouri.

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail runs parallel to the Missouri River and the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway. The byway offers views of the river and access to historic sites. On the riverfront, in downtown Sioux City, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center both feature exhibits of this historic expedition. In Council Bluffs, the location of a meeting between Native American tribes and the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Western Historic Trails Center tells the tale of the expedition as well as the Mormon, California, and Oregon trails.

The Missouri River valley is accessible via Interstate Highway 29. Both the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway follow a mix of interstate and state highways. Sioux City and Council Bluffs are good starting points for drives along these scenic routes. There are many hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast in Sioux City, Council Bluffs, and in nearby Omaha, Nebraska.


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