Scenic Byways

Missouri’s Scenic Byways Program

Missouri has an abundance of special roads that offer travelers wonderful scenery, history, culture, recreation and other qualities that showcase our splendid heritage. Ten of these roads are officially designated as Missouri Scenic Byways and offer visitors unique and memorable Missouri experiences.

Scenic Missouri is an active member of the state-appointed Missouri Scenic Byways Advisory Committee, and our goal is to help establish a byways program of the highest quality and that attracts tourists from across the midwest, nation and globe.

Photo: View of the Mississippi from Little Dixie National Scenic Byway

What Roads are Designated as Missouri Scenic Byways?

Little Dixie Highway of the Great River Road: Route 79 Pike County
Cliff Drive: Kansas City
Crowley’s Ridge: Various Routes in Dunklin County
Spirit of Kansas City Location: Kansas City
Old Trails Road: Route 224 Lafayette County
Ozark Mountain High Rd: Taney and Stone County
Santa Fe Trail Byway: Route 24 Lafayette County
Historic Route 66: Statewide
Stars and Stripes Byway: Route 25 in Stoddard County
Ozark Mountain Parkway: Route 265 Stone County

Additional information about Missouri’s Byways can be found at MODOT’s website and America’s Byways.

What are the Benefits of a Scenic Byways Program?

Missouri is a unique state with a variety of natural scenery, recreational areas, parks, historic sites and communities. Roadways provide easy access to these areas and the scenic byways program is designed to promote their special qualities. One of the key benefits of the program is the added economic opportunities and increased tourism provided to communities along the designated route. A program promoted statewide through maps and other literature can expand the number of visitors to an area, which can generate economic growth and increase community recognition. In addition, Missouri Byways communities have received over $3 million in grants between 2000 and 2007.

How does a Roadway become a Scenic Byway?

Any agency, group or individual can nominate a route for scenic byway designation. However, there must be local governmental support and commitment for designating the route a scenic byway, since the purpose of the program is to preserve and improve the scenic value of the route. A corridor management plan outlining specific strategies and actions to manage the route must also be developed and included with the nomination. The corridor management planning process establishes community-based goals and implementation strategies for the scenic byway to utilize community resources efficiently to conserve intrinsic qualities of the scenic byway and enhance its value to the community.

What’s the Review Process?

Nominations may be submitted at any time to the Scenic Byways Advisory Committee. This committee meets semi-annually and is composed of individuals representing tourism, the motoring public, the conservation department, historic preservation, outdoor advertising, state parks, and transportation.

More information is available by contacting The Missouri Department of Transportation Scenic Byways Coordinator at 1-888-ASK-MODOT or (573) 526-3690 or Scenic Missouri.

Please contact us if you would like more information about Scenic Biways!

Scenic Missouri’s Proposals – The Lewis and Clark Parkway I-70

Two proposals were put forward by Scenic Missouri — one in 2004 and one in 2008 — which addressed opportunities presented by the urgent practical need to rebuild a deteriorating I-70 and to increase vehicle capacity across mid-Missouri.

Scenic Missouri, an organization devoted to improving the visual/scenic qualities of Missouri roadways, saw this as a great opportunity to remake one of the worst interstate highways in America into a rewarding aesthetic experience, exploiting this State’s great natural beauty, working with the topography, and integrating cultural, historic, and tourist attractions.

Find out about this here.

Downloadable copy of these proposals (.pdf)

The first proposal, 2004; the Lewis and Clark Parkway (Parkway Proposal I), responded to a MODOT proposal to simply rebuild and widen I-70 to six lanes. Scenic Missouri’s countered that proposal with a parallel divided autos-only parkway built to freeway standards. Tolls were essential to make this feasible. The original proposal recommended that the parkway be a toll road; on reconsideration it was thought the tolls should be on l-70.

In 2008, MODOT floated a new scheme; widening I-70 to eight lanes — two lanes in each direction for cars, two in each direction for trucks. Scenic Missouri proposed that the auto lanes be periodically disengaged from I-70, in ten to twelve-mile segments to traverse Missouri’s scenic countryside, offering relief from the billboard-blighted, dead- straight monotonous I-70 alignment — again, integrating cultural and tourist-oriented attractions. This scheme was labeled the I-70 Rebuilding Alternative, or “Segmented Parkway” (Parkway Proposal II). It was calculated that, due to relative land acquisition costs, this proposal would be financially competitive with the MODOT scheme.

In any case, the inevitable I-70 rebuilding represents a unique opportunity to enhance and improve that highway. In all respects, including the aesthetic experience. It is an opportunity to celebrate Missouri’s scenic beauty and historic/cultural heritage. These proposals represent an urgent request to include these considerations in any scheme to rebuild I-70.

Downloadable copy of these proposals (.pdf)