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Hollywood in Iowa: Visiting the Bridges of Madison County
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Hollywood in Iowa: Visiting the Bridges of Madison County

As I exited off the interstate, I couldn’t believe that I was heading toward another iconic attraction in Iowa that I had never been to. About five minutes later I reached my first stop -  Imes Covered Bridge. That’s right, I was visiting the Bridges of Madison County located just south of Des Moines.

The Imes Covered Bridge, on the outskirts of the small, quaint town of St. Charles, is the oldest remaining covered bridge, built in 1870.

From there I made my way on winding gravel roads past homesteads and fields full of crops waiting to be harvested to the Holliwell Bridge. Such pretty scenery! The Holliwell Bridge is the longest covered bridge in the area and was featured in the famous film.

The Culter-Donahoe Bridge is located in the beautiful Winterset City Park. The bridge was once located near Bevington and was moved to its present location in 1970.

Had I visited around lunchtime I would have stopped at the historic Northside Café on the town square for a bite to eat and to sit in the very spot where Clint Eastwood sat during filming "The Bridges of Madison County".

Taking twisting gravel roads back to the Roseman Bridge Roseman Bridge is a great way to see the countryside of Madison County. It is surrounded by gorgeous foliage and rolling hills. While walking through the bridge, I could hear the soft babble of the Middle River, which runs underneath. The Roseman Bridge is the best known of the bridges as it played a starring role in both the book and the film.

I took some back country roads north of Winterset to get to the Hogback Bridge and continued to gape in awe at the beautiful countryside. The bridge, still in its original location in a beautiful valley, gets its name from the limestone ridge at the west end of the valley.

I ended my bridge escapade at the cedar-covered Cedar Bridge, also north of Winterset. A small park next to the bridge would make a perfect place to have a picnic. This is the bridge that is on the cover of the famous novel. It was renovated in 1998 and is the only one that you can actually drive through.

I may be biased because I’m obsessed with fall, but I think it has to be the best time to visit the bridges due to the colorful surrounding foliage and distant noise of farm machinery working to harvest corn.

Find more ideas for visiting Madison County at

Leave a Comment

  1. Travel Iowa Team
    Travel Iowa Team
    This sounds absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the post!
    Log in to reply.


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