Western Skies Scenic Byway Harrison County
Image: Old Town Conservation Area, rural Missouri Valley. Photo by Lance Brisbois.
Desoto National Wildlife Refuge and Steamboat Bertrand Exhibit - This national wildlife refuge, established in 1958, lies in the Missouri River Valley floodplain on a former meander of the Missouri River. Migrating ducks and geese congregate here in late fall and early spring. The visitor center houses the Steamboat Bertrand collection, more than 250,000 artifacts recovered from the Bertrand, which sank in the Missouri River in 1865. The wreck was located in the late 1960s and its Civil War era contents were excavated and preserved. The visitor center also contains interpretive displays on the historical development of the Missouri River Basin, the ecological impacts of that development, and the natural history of the area. Website: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Desoto/
Old Town Conservation Area
The Old Town Conservation Area features a restored native prairie and bur oak savannah on 341 acres. A network of hiking trails of about 8 miles, scenic vistas and abundant populations of deer and turkey provide a variety of public recreation opportunities. It is also an excellent location for bird watching for migrant species such as dickcissels and warblers.
Harrison County Welcome Center & Historical Village
Owned and operated by the Conservation Board, the Harrison County Historical Village and Iowa Welcome Center is located 3 miles northeast of Missouri Valley on Highway 30 (five miles east of Interstate 29, Exit 75). This museum complex is straight out of the 1800s, with an original log cabin, general store, and school. The official Iowa Welcome Center provides tourism information and assistance to travelers. The Iowa Products Store offers food, beverage, clothing, crafts, and a wide variety of souvenirs.
Woodbine Main Street & Brick Street Historic District
Founded in 1866, downtown Woodbine is a National Historic District site, recognized for its beautifully restored Iowa Commercial Architecture and the longest, original stretch of the 1921 bricked Lincoln Highway. Sculptures dot the downtown retail district.
Pick up a map for the History & Art Walk-About. A dozen interpretive signs with historic photos tell the downtown's story on buildings dating from 1878 to 1952.
Willow Lake Recreation Area
Willow Lake Recreation Area has 220 acres for multiple outdoor recreation opportunities. There is a 27-acre fishing lake with boat ramp access, fishing jetties, handicap fishing pier, swimming beach, playground and playscape, picnic shelters, campground with electricity and water as well as shower houses with restrooms.
There are also six rental cabins available. There are 6 miles of hiking trails.
The Nature Encounter Center has natural history displays and live animals like turtles and snakes. With both prairie and woodland habitat, public hunting is allowed on a portion of the area for pheasant, quail, turkey, squirrel, rabbit and deer. The Willow Lake Recreation Area is also an excellent location for bird watching, especially migrating songbirds and waterfowl as well as finding morel mushrooms.