Iowa's Byways

The Iowa DOT Scenic Byways Program accepts applications for byway designation every four years. The next application deadline is October 1, 2020. Byway organizations interested in nominating a new byway or changing an existing byway are urged to contact the Iowa DOT's byways program manager. Scroll down for more program funding information.

Emily Whaley
Iowa Byways Program Manager
Systems Planning Bureau
Iowa Department of Transportation
800 Lincoln Way
Ames, Iowa 50010
Phone: 515-239-1629


Intent of program

This program was established to identify, protect and enhance roadways in Iowa which exemplify the state’s scenic and historic resources. This effort is carried out through volunteer work and cooperation between interested citizens, organizations, local governments, and the DOT. The DOT designates a route as a State Scenic Byway on the basis of scenic and historic qualities, using established criteria. Applicants are then responsible for funding tourism and promotional plans. Federal grant opportunities may be available for scenic byways for certain infrastructure projects (see Federal Transportation Alternatives Program).

Who is eligible to request designation?

Designation as a state scenic byway may be applied for by any group or individual having the support and concurrence of their local government entity (i.e. a County Board of Supervisors, City Council, Resource Conservation and Development Board, or County Conservation Board).

Type of submittal required

Applications are available from the DOT. See also:

Application process/deadline

Applications are due October 1, and are accepted only every four years. This begins a four-year process. Following review of the applications by the Scenic Byway Advisory Council, field inventories are conducted in the following spring, summer and fall. The next step is evaluation of the inventory data and preparation of the final reports, including ratings for each route. The evaluations are reviewed by the Council, which selects routes for designation. The designation process is complete with the installation of Iowa Scenic Byway signs.

Although the National Scenic Byway program no longer exists, Iowa DOT offers some limited funding for Iowa Byway™ development and sustainability.


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