Nestled at the foot of the Loess Hills, Missouri Valley is the largest town in Harrison County. Recreational opportunities, such as hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, and bird watching abound in this charming town. From its location on the Western Skies Scenic Byway and the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway, Missouri Valley welcomes visitors at the Harrison County Historical Village and Iowa Welcome Center. The Harrison County Freedom Rock, part of Iowa’s Freedom Rock Tour, is located at the welcome center.
With activities suitable for adventure enthusiasts of all ages, Missouri Valley boasts four outdoor sites, two museums, more than a dozen restaurants, a handful of lodging options, and numerous other attractions. A number of festivals and celebrations also take place near this charming town and attract visitors from all walks of life and all areas of the country! Outdoor parks and activities include:
In addition to these, the Harrison County Fair is one of the biggest attractions. The annual fair includes a carnival, parade, and competitions. The DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge is known for the annual waterfowl migration that occurs yearly around Thanksgiving. If its prime location near the Missouri River isn’t enough to solidify Missouri Valley’s ties to Lewis and Clark, the nearby Wilson Island State Recreation Area is where Lewis and Clark camped in 1804 on their initial journey westward. This land, where their exploratory party passed, now boasts campgrounds, picnic areas, and biking and hiking trails.
Located on the Harrison County Fairgrounds is the Watson Station Steam Train and Depot Museum. Train rides are offered to railroad lovers big and small on a restored coal-fired miniature steam train and the nearby museum holds a collection of 160 replicas of every Union Pacific engine built. If you prefer a step back in time, Wisecup Farm Museum has a replica 19th and 20th century schoolhouse, church, gas station, and doctor’s office.
Adorning the interior of the Missouri Valley Post Office is a mural titled “Iowa Fair.” It was commissioned as a stimulus project for the New Deal and was done in 1938 by Francis Robert White, a local artist. Missouri Valley is also home to the one-screen Rialto Theatre, which is located downtown. The once-closed Rialto was renovated and reopened by community members in the early 1990s. It’s been in operation ever since, showing first-run movies. In addition to the modernized theatre, the Missouri Valley Aquatic Center is a first-rate place to cool down in the summertime.
While visiting this quaint town located along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, be sure to stop in at one of the local restaurants such as The Buck Snort Restaurant, JC’s Dairy Den, or Penny’s Diner for some classic Americana flavor! With dozens of activities to choose from, Missouri Valley should be on every Lewis and Clark enthusiast’s bucket-list.