Iowa Highway 9

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Iowa Highway 9

Iowa 9 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Iowa DOT
Length295.088 mi[1] (474.898 km)
Major junctions
West end SD 42 near Larchwood
Major intersections
East end WIS 82 in Lansing
CountryUnited States
Highway system
Iowa 8 Iowa 10

Iowa Highway 9 is the most northern of Iowa's east–west highways, traversing the entire northern tier of counties. It runs from the eastern terminus of South Dakota Highway 42 at the South Dakota border east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota near Benclare, to the Wisconsin border at Lansing where it continues as Wisconsin Highway 82. It is largely rural in character, bypassing any large city. Making a few dips north and south, the highway largely follows a very straight east–west alignment.

Route description

Northwest Iowa

Iowa 9 looking west in Larchwood

Iowa 9 enters Iowa from South Dakota as a continuation of South Dakota Highway 42. At the same place the highway passes by Grand Falls Casino. The highway's entry point is four and a half miles (7.2 km) east of Iowa's northwestern corner. It heads south and east through Lyon County until it reaches Larchwood. There, it turns south for about a mile (1.5 km) where it meets the northern end of Iowa 182. From here, the highway runs due east for twelve miles (19 km). During this straight stretch, it passes just to the south of Lester. Just west of Rock Rapids, it meets U.S. Highway 75 (US 75). The two routes overlap one another for one mile (1.6 km) as the travel through northern Rock Rapids. US 75 splits away to the south and Iowa 9 heads into downtown Rock Rapids, where it crosses the Rock River.

East of Rock Rapids, the highway follows a section line that is four and a half miles (7.2 km) south of the Minnesota state line. Halfway between Rock Rapids and Little Rock, Iowa 9 intersects the northern and southern legs of County Road L14, which were previously Iowa 91 and Iowa 339, respectively. The highway passes Little Rock to the south and enters Osceola County. It continues east for seven and a half miles (12 km) until it reaches an interchange with Iowa 60 north of Sibley, that highway's final exit before entering Minnesota. Shortly thereafter, Iowa 9 meets US 59. The highway eases to the south as it follows the section line. It passes to the north of Ocheyedan and to the south of Rush Lake and Harris.

As Iowa 9 enters Dickinson County, it goes south of Silver Lake and Lake Park. It crosses the western and eastern branches of the Little Sioux River, which converge just south of the highway. The intersection with Iowa 86 marks Iowa 9's entry into the Iowa Great Lakes region. It becomes a four-lane divided highway for a short distance as it curves slightly to the south. In northwestern Spirit Lake, Iowa 9 is joined by US 71 from the south and they travel east through the downtown area. The highways turn sharply to the northeast in order to cross a narrow portion of East Okoboji Lake. They briefly follow the shore before turning back to the east and exiting Spirit Lake. Four miles (6.4 km) east of town, US 71 turns to the north and Iowa 9 continues towards Superior. Iowa 9 enters Emmet County and curves to the southeast as it approaches Estherville. There, it crosses the West Fork Des Moines River and Iowa 4. It continues due east for fifteen miles (24 km). Just west of Armstrong, it dips to the south and enters the southern part of town. It is overlapped by Iowa 15 for two blocks, a mere 600 feet (180 m).

North Central Iowa

In Kossuth County, Iowa 9 passes through Swea City. East of Swea City, it is joined by U.S. Route 169. It passes north of Lakota, where US 169 turns north. Travelling through Buffalo Center in Winnebago County, the route takes a short southerly dip to pass northeast of Thompson, continues east, and then south overlapping U.S. Route 69 to the northern edge of Forest City where it again turns east.

Iowa 9 follows US 69 for a few miles in Winnebago County

In Worth County, it travels past the northern edges of Fertile and Hanlontown, where it soon crosses Interstate 35. East of I-35, it passes through the south side of Manly.

In Mitchell County, it makes a straight run to and through Osage, where it begins a concurrence with U.S. Route 218. East of where US 218 turns south, Iowa 9 swings back north and resumes going east to Riceville, crossing the Wapsipinicon River in the process.

A car stopped at a traffic signal in the downtown area of a small town.
U.S. Highway 218 and Iowa Highway 9 briefly overlap through Osage.

Northeast Iowa

In Howard County, the highway makes a transition into the Driftless Area of Iowa, with progressively more rugged terrain evident as one travels east. West of Cresco, and south of Lime Springs, it crosses U.S. Route 63 before going through Cresco. In the process, it crosses two tributaries of the Turkey River.

Summertime overlooking a wide and winding river. A small town is to the right. An old steel cantilever-truss bridge dominates the foreground.
The Black Hawk Bridge marks the eastern end of Iowa 9, the southern end of Iowa 26, and the western end of WIS 82.

In Winneshiek County, it runs southeasterly, straightening out to go through Decorah in the valley of the Upper Iowa River. In Decorah, it crosses U.S. Route 52. It again takes a southeasterly drift. In Allamakee County, the highway becomes crooked. Just east of the county line, Iowa Highway 51 meets its northern terminus. Running south of Waukon, it then turns north through Waukon, briefly joined by Iowa Highway 76. In the northern part of Waukon, it curves north and east, into Lansing, through the valley of Clear Creek and downtown Lansing. Just before crossing the Mississippi River, it meets the southern terminus of Iowa Highway 26. It then turns onto the Black Hawk Bridge, where it joins Wisconsin Highway 82.

Major intersections

LyonSioux Township0.0000.000

SD 42 west / CR A10 east – Sioux Falls, S.D.
Continuation into South Dakota; CR A10 follows the state line
township line
Iowa 182 south – Inwood
township line
US 75 north – Luverne, Minn.
Western end of US 75 overlap
Rock Rapids20.02132.221
US 75 south (Union Street) – Sioux Center
Eastern end of US 75 overlap
township line
27.95144.983 CR L14 – Ellsworth, Minn.Former Iowa 91
28.95146.592 CR L14 – GeorgeFormer Iowa 339
township line
34.73355.897Maple AvenueFormer Iowa 189
OsceolaWilsonEast Holman
township line
43.26869.633 Iowa 60 – Le Mars, Worthington, Minn.Interchange; Iowa 60 exit 53
46.80875.330 US 59 – Sanborn, Worthington, Minn.
township line
52.28084.137 CR L58 – OcheyedanFormer Iowa 237
township line
57.34992.294 CR M20 – HarrisFormer Iowa 238
DickinsonSilver LakeExcelsior
township line
62.882101.199 CR M27 – Lake ParkFormer Iowa 219
Diamond LakeLakeville
township line
70.090112.799 Iowa 86 – Milford, Lakefield, Minn.
Spirit Lake72.978117.447
US 71 south
Western end of US 71 overlap
74.186119.391Hill AvenueFormer Iowa 276
township line
US 71 north – Jackson, Minn.
Eastern end of US 71 overlap
80.988130.338 CR N14 – TerrilFormer Iowa 203
EmmetEstherville88.639142.651 Iowa 4 (9th Street) – Emmetsburg, Sherburn, Minn.
Iowa 15 south (4th Street) – Ringsted
Western end of Iowa 15 overlap
Iowa 15 north (6th Street) – Fairmont, Minn.
Eastern end of Iowa 15 overlap
KossuthHarrison Township119.989193.104
US 169 south – Bancroft, Algona
Western end of US 169 overlap
Lakota126.186203.077188th Avenue – LakotaFormer Iowa 250
US 169 north – Blue Earth, Minn.
Eastern end of US 169 overlap
WinnebagoBuffalo Center134.325216.175 CR R20 – RakeFormer Iowa 254
Newton Township149.811241.097
US 69 north – Lake Mills
Western end of US 69 overlap
Forest City156.837252.405
US 69 south – Garner
Eastern end of US 69 overlap
Mount Valley Township160.184257.791250th Avenue – Pilot Knob State ParkFormer Iowa 332
WorthFertile Township167.696269.881 CR S18 – FertileFormer Iowa 86
Danville Township171.951276.728
I-35 / Iowa 27 – Des Moines, Minneapolis
I-35 exit 203
Manly178.962288.011 US 65 (Orchid Avenue) – Northwood, Mason City
Union Township186.370299.933 CR S62 – GraftonFormer Iowa 337
US 218 north (N. 7th Street) – St. Ansgar
Western end of US 218 overlap
Burr Oak Township203.121326.892
US 218 south – Floyd
Eastern end of US 218 overlap
Jenkins Township215.087346.149 CR T64 – McIntireFormer Iowa 312
HowardHoward Center Township230.040370.213 US 63 – New Hampton, Rochester, Minn.
Cresco239.008384.646 CR V58 – ProtivinFormer Iowa 139 south
county line
Vernon SpringsOrleans
township line
Iowa 139 north – Harmony, Minn.
WinneshiekDecorah258.036415.269 US 52 – Rochester, Minn.
258.450415.935Short StreetFormer US 52
AllamakeeLudlow Township271.609437.112
Iowa 51 south – Postville
Jefferson Township276.278444.626
Iowa 76 south – Marquette, Effigy Mounds National Monument
Western end of Iowa 76 overlap
Iowa 76 north (Main Street) – Eitzen, Minn.
Eastern end of Iowa 76 overlap

Iowa 26 / Great River Road north (2nd Street) / WIS 82 east – De Soto, Wis., New Albin
Signed end of Iowa 9
Mississippi River295.472475.516Black Hawk Bridge; Iowa–Wisconsin state line

WIS 82 east – De Soto, Wis.
Continuation into Wisconsin
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  •       Closed/former
  •       Concurrency terminus


  1. ^ a b 2009 Volume of Traffic on the Primary Road System of Iowa (PDF) (Report). Iowa Department of Transportation. January 1, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2011.
  2. ^ Official Auto Trails Map (Map). 1:1,081,344. Rand McNally. 1921. p. 330-331.