Fall is finally upon us! The nights are cool and the days are pleasantly warm. The days are getting shorter and the leaves are changing to varying shades of yellow, orange, and red. Many of us will find ourselves out for a Sunday drive or maybe perhaps an entire weekend of leaf looking. Here are seven scenic drives in Allamakee County that will be sure to highlight the beauty of the Driftless Region's fantastic fall color.
Maybe the most popular route for leaf lookers is the Great River Road from the Minnesota Border to the Clayton County line near Effigy Mounds National Monument. County, State, and Federal public use areas greet visitors wishing to enjoy a leisurely picnic or take a stroll in the fresh fall air.
A short side trip off of the Great River Road near Harpers Ferry, this narrow gravel road is mere feet from the banks of the Mississippi River. Migrating waterfowl, (including the largest population of Tundra Swans in the world), will be visible from the roadway.
A paved county road traversing through the Yellow River State Forest, this road offers travelers opportunities to stop for a picnic or to wet a line. You'll find Brooke, Brown and Rainbow trout in two different trout streams. Travelers should also consider a side trip off the State Forest Road to Firetower Road. A narrow, winding road that culminates with close up views of the only fire tower in the state of Iowa.
Located in the North end of the county from Highway 76, near Dorchester and toward Highway 26 near New Albin, Iowa River Drive brings leaf lookers along the Upper Iowa River and its steep rugged bluffs. If there is time to spare at the end of the day, you may wish to venture down Army Road in New Albin, a short dead end road leading to the Mississippi River with plentiful migrating waterfowl and Bald Eagles within easy view of the road.
5. Mt. Hosmer:
Travelers in Lansing should venture up the winding road to Mt. Hosmer. The road may be short, but the scenery will no doubt be breathtaking. Views of the Mississippi River Valley across to the bluffs of Wisconsin are visible from the beautiful Mt. Hosmer lookout.
Located North of Postville from State Highway 51 to Forest Mills Road, Yellow River Drive meanders along the small, but scenic Yellow River. For travelers looking to continue along the Yellow River, gravel roads are accessible from Forest Mills Road to the small village of Volney and on downstream to Ion Road.
Not from a car, but perhaps the most scenic of all the routes may be a fall boat ride through the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife Refuge backwaters. Pools 9 and 10 meander from the Minnesota border in the North to the Clayton County line in the South. There are many access points for motorboats, canoes or kayaks along the way.
These are just a small sampling of the many scenic routes through Northeast Iowa's beautiful Allamakee County. Please share any of your own favorites in the comments section!