The vision of the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byways Program is “To create a distinctive collection of American roads, their stories and treasured places.”
The mission is to provide resources to the byway community in creating a unique travel experience and enhanced local quality of life through efforts to preserve, protect, interpret, and promote the intrinsic qualities of designated byways.
Joining this unique collection is a non-trivial task which involves much more than simply taking a few photos and filling out the online application. It can take months to prepare a byway and its organization for this process. Travelers can know Byways that have successfully negotiated the program requirements will offer a truly exceptional experience.
Are you as curious as I about what Missouri roads are included? Guess no more, here they are:
Crowley’s Ridge Parkway (Arkansas, Missouri)
See a mixture of plant communities and an array of wildlife along Crowley’s Ridge. Dramatic views abound along the ridge and hills where wildflowers proliferate throughout spring, summer, and fall. Travel through natural and historical sites such as Chalk Bluff Natural Area, the Civil War battle site, and St. Francis National Forest.
Great River Road (Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin)
Throughout history, the Mississippi River influenced many lives: the Dakota, Chippewa, and Hopewell cultures; early French voyagers; African-Americans seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad; and many more. Through its charming river towns and metropolitan cities, historic sites and cultural artifacts, today’s Great River Road still links resources, people, and history.
And here’s more:
- Blue Buck Knob Scenic Byway
- Cliff Drive
- Glade Top Trail
- Great River Road – Missouri
- Historic Route 66 – MO
- Old Trails Road
- Ozark Mountain Highroad
- Ozark Mountain Parkway
- Sho-Me Santa Fe Trails
- Spirit of Kansas City
- Stars and Stripes Historical/Cultural Byway
- Sugar Camp Scenic Byway
Let me give a special shout out to an area of the state that I have found particularly charming. Traveling through this region is nostalgic, scenic, and timeless.
You can also see first-hand the definition of Agritourism as this region boasts a variety of agriculture venues from pumpkin patches to corn mazes, peach, apple, and pecan orchards, farmers markets, vegetable and meat producers, new and mature wineries and everything in between. Is there anything better than farm fresh produce?
What more could you ask for?
Oh, where is this you ask?
Why it is the Old Trails Region of the Missouri River Valley. Specifically, the Old Trails Region begins in West Central Missouri to include Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton and Howard counties north of the Missouri River and Cooper, Saline, Lafayette and Jackson counties south of the river. Sounds like a pretty good Congressional District if the population count would work out (wink).
A trip to this region of the “Show-Me” State will afford you a glimpse of how the area has persevered through wars, depression, industrialization and even modernization, yet remained resilient and true to its way of life. If you crave an escape from the day-to-day, the Old Trails Region offers a distinctively unique reprieve sure to stimulate, engage and captivate audiences of all ages www.OldTrails.net.
From panoramic overlooks of the Missouri River basin at Napoleon and Wellington, to the scenes of small town America in Marshall, Keytesville, Carrollton, and Boonville, to the historic districts of Lexington, Independence and Arrow Rock – the sights of the Old Trails Road are enchanting. Relish in the curvy tree-lined route as it meanders along the river bluffs, drops into the flat bottomlands adjacent to the mighty Missouri, rises over emerald hilltops, and winds around magnificent landmarks.
Experience a roadway that has been traveled by American Indians, fur traders and trappers, explorers, pioneers, gold seekers, ox carts and covered wagons, Civil War troops, jayhawkers and bushwhackers, coal miners, and farmers.
If you get a chance to visit, make plans to stay at one of the bed and breakfasts or guest houses along the byway. They serve the original deluxe continental breakfasts that you find at so many chain hotels today, while many serve a specially prepared hot breakfast, too.
I know that you will enjoy your time and experience along Old Trails Road Scenic Byway. Tell ‘em Katie sent you.