US Route 71's path through Iowa spans the entire north-south distance across the state, such that about twenty percent of the state's area lies to the west of it. It lies about halfway between Interstate 35 and Iowa's western border. No sizeable locales are served by US Route 71, but it provides access to a lot of smaller towns, including Clarinda, Atlantic, Carroll, Storm Lake, Spencer, and Spirit Lake. US Route 71's southern entry into Iowa is a crossing of the state border out of Missouri, at Braddyville, Iowa. On the east side of Atlantic, Iowa, US Route 71 joins US Route 6 and Iowa Route 83 east for a bit, before continuing north independently past Interstate 80. In Sac County, where US Route 71 meets US Route 20, US Route 71 was recently rerouted so that it passes more closely to Sac City. Instead of joining Iowa Route 175 to a more westerly alignment that passes straight under US Route 20, US Route 71 now continues north to join US Route 20 west to the new westerly road. The old portion of US Route 71 to the west, south of US Route 20, is now Iowa Route 471. In the Spirit Lake area, US Route 71 jogs a bit to the east to go around the eastern shore of Spirit Lake, whereas Iowa Route 86 is created to head north along the western side of the lake. Soon after the Spirit Lake area, US Route 71 crosses into southwestern Minnesota, south of the Minnesota town of Jackson.
My photo of US Route 71 in Iowa comes from Milford, Iowa, at the southern end of the Spirit Lake area. The sign assembly depicted is the northern trailblazer facing vehicles that leave the intersection of US Route 71 and Iowa Route 86. The photo is taken near the northern end of US Route 71's stint in Iowa. The 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.