US Route 18 is the highway spanning the second row of counties from the northern extent of the state of Iowa. It enters the state from South Dakota between Carson, South Dakota, and Inwood, Iowa. US Route 18 heads fairly straight during its eastward journey across the western half of northern Iowa, passing through Sheldon, Spencer, Emmetsburg, and Algona. At Clear Lake, US Route 18 is taken south to a different eastward highway by a concurrency along Interstate 35. A business route of US Route 18 continues east from the original highway though, carrying Iowa Route 122 along with it into Mason City. The main alignment of US Route 18 jogs south to a new eastward freeway that also carries Iowa Route 27, known as the Avenue of the Saints. (Remember that it's a freeway though, not an avenue.) Beyond Mason City, US Route 18 and Iowa Route 27 pick up US Route 218 at Floyd, and the three routes bend southward. At Charles City, US Route 18 breaks off, and US Route 218 becomes the new tagalong for Iowa Route 27. At New Hampton, US Route 18 joins US Route 63 south for seven miles to a more southerly latitude. US Route 18 reaches West Union, marking its foray into the driftless region's rugged terrain. It curves northeast to Postville, where it joins US Route 52 east. Seven miles short of leaving Iowa into Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, US Route 52 splits from US Route 18 to head south. The final seven-mile stretch of US Route 18's eastward trek through Iowa ends with a bridge over the Mississippi River, connecting Marquette, Iowa with Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.
My photo of US Route 18 in Iowa comes from its junction with Iowa Route 150 in West Union. The sign assembly depicted faces west, to show eastbound travelers on US Route 18 what's going on. The western beginning of Iowa Route 56 lies at a separate junction just to the south. This photo was taken in September 2019, as I was making my way across northern Iowa. Back to the Iowa main page. Back to the home page.