Magnificent views of the Mississippi River can be found at lookout spots on either end of Guttenberg

For many reasons, the Mississippi River is vital to our state and its economy. Other than the fact that its river flow literally creates the eastern border and cuts the outline for that part of the state, the river is important for its help in moving Iowa products and commodities to the global economy. There's a thriving tourism and recreational element in, around, and on the river. Many people live or make their living in cities from Lansing all the way down to Keokuk. The history of the river - including both both human and natural - could literally fill volumes.


If you opt to drive up or down the Great River Road, you could fill many days worth of adventures. In a lot of places, you can catch nice glimpses of the river. However, there are a number of designated spots where you can stop and truly enjoy some spectacular views of the river and the surrounding landscape.


In Guttenberg, a town in Northeast Iowa in Clayton County, you can stop at lookouts on both the north and south ends of town. Iowa Adventurer stopped in late Fall of 2020 and did just that.

On the north side of town, as you are traveling on Highway 52, there's a pull off on the road with a series of brick cutouts created to facilitate nice views and excellent photos.

There's a small area to pull off and park. Across the road you'll find some imposing but scenic rock bluffs.

Iowa Adventurer did not stop to spend much more time in Guttenberg on this stop, but you could build a great day (or weekend) of places to enjoy in this small town alone. There's just so much to see and do (and eat). However, I continued on another mile or two to the south and stopped at another lookout.

The Mississippi Valley Overlook has a great sign that gives a brief history of the river and the area.

There's a very nice paved parking lot that can accommodate a fair number of tourists at once.

On this particular afternoon, a nice woman was selling honey and other merchandise at a stand near the road.

A couple of benches have been placed near the best lookout spot.

Personally, I think the views are a little bit better from the northern Guttenberg spot. However, the views here at the southern spot are also very good.

My visit was at the tail end of the colorful leaf season. There's a plenty of dense forest in this part of Iowa and if you show up sometime around mid-October, there's a good chance you can enjoy the peak of the excellent fall foliage colors with your river views.

Either of these stops can be as short as a minute or two or much longer, depending on your schedule or interest. I'd certainly recommend spending some time in Guttenberg to enjoy the community and its businesses and other attractions. However, at a minimum, these two lookouts will give you a very good look at the majesty of the "Mighty Mississippi".


As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Clayton County or any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you have a good idea or would like to host the Iowa Adventurer, please drop me a note through this site.