Take a Trip Down Iowa’s Great River Road
When glaciers carved through Middle America during the last Ice Age, a portion of the Midwest known as the Driftless Area was untouched by glaciation, leaving a deeply carved valley along the edges of the Mississippi River. Explore this surprisingly rugged terrain on a summer road trip down Iowa’s Great River Road, which hugs the edge of America’s most storied river along the eastern border of the state. This region of the Upper Mississippi was home to the Mound Builders, one of North America’s most advanced Pre-Columbian civilizations. You can view their earthen religious, residential, and burial mounds at parks along the route, including Effigy Mounds National Monument near Marquette. Other reserves, such as Pikes Peak State Park, provide bluff-top campgrounds with soaring views, while tiny resort towns like Bellevue offer riverside lodgings and venues for live Mississippi blues. Regional hubs along the Great River Road include Dubuque and Davenport, the largest of the so-called Quad Cities.