Homer's Travels: Driving The Loess Hills Scenic Byway - From Akron To Council Bluffs

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Driving The Loess Hills Scenic Byway - From Akron To Council Bluffs

Loess Hills Scenic Byway.
On Friday I decided to go for a drive.  I wanted to see more fall color so I executed one of my options and drove a large part of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway.  With an excellent map in hand, I set out.

As I drove I listened to NPR.  On one show they were talking about the fall colors in Iowa and suggested that the leaves would not be very impressive this year.  I ended up seeing a lot of color on this drive despite it still being a tad early.

The byway starts up north in Akron, IA which is in north-west Iowa, about two and a half hour drive from where I live.  From Akron you head south.  It seems odd at first as there are no Loess Hills near Akron but as you drive south the small rolling hills start to appear and before you know it you are in the hills.

Along the main byway there are several scenic loops you can take.  I decided to take as many of these alternative routes as possible.  I'm glad I did as these off the highway, gravel country roads often went through the most beautiful and interesting scenery.  These excursion loops take you into the hills, not just along the hills, and you really see what makes the hills special.  As I drove by idyllic farmsteads I wondered what it would have been like growing up surrounded my these hills and forests.  Many of the homes were tucked back in hollows and small valleys surrounded by trees turning all colors of the rainbow it seemed.  If I win the lotto, a cabin in these hills might be on my short list.

Loess Hill Tractor.
One of the loops takes you through Stone State Park.  The park was beautiful this time of year and I will have to add it to my list of places to return to as there are eight miles of hiking trails in this park

Stone State Park.
The road winds through the hills passing through several towns.  The smallest, I sadly don't recall the name, had a population of 11.  This time of year most of the farmers were harvesting and you often passed combines in the fields.  There are also a couple overlooks.  I mentioned one that I went to after hiking Preparation Canyon.  The other is the Murray Hill  Scenic Overlook (The picture of the road in the post is from Murray Hill).

The Loess Hills.
I ended up driving for eight hours.  Near the end I was running low on gas (both the car's and my own).  I stopped along the way to take pictures and to check out interesting stuff along the way.  Pictures can be found here.  I'll have to finish the drive sometime.  I enjoyed the drive so much that it may become an annual event for me.


  1. That top picture looks like a perfect calendar shot! Awesome.

    I went up into the mountains of San Diego last weekend, but the trees hadn't even started changing yet, which is odd. The wacky weather continues...

  2. I think your page seems extra bright and happy.

    What a cool place! I liked the tractor. It's fun to discover stuff like that!

  3. GH: Thanks! It feels like spring here. Very Wacky weather all over.

    Miss McC: I'm trying to change it up a little. I think I left a skid mark on the ... gravel road when I saw the tractor. Just had to stop.