Iowa Highway 9

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Iowa Highway 9 marker

Iowa Highway 9
Iowa 9 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Iowa DOT
Length295.088 mi[2] (474.898 km)
Major junctions
West end SD 42 near Larchwood
East end WIS 82 in Lansing
Highway system
Iowa 8Iowa 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[edit]

Northwest Iowa[edit]

Iowa 9 looking west in Larchwood

Iowa 9 enters Iowa from South Dakota as a continuation of South Dakota Highway 42. 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[edit]

In Kossuth County, it 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, takes a slight southwesterly dip to pass northeast of Thompson, continues east, and then south to join U.S. Route 69 at 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. West of I-35, it passes through the south side of Manly.

In Mitchell County, it makes a straight run to and through Osage. It swings back north and resumes going west 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. Route 218 and Iowa Highway 9 briefly overlap through Osage.

Northeast Iowa[edit]

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[edit]

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
7.26311.689 Iowa 182 south – Inwood
township line
19.03030.626 US 75 north – Luverne, Minn.Western end of US 75 overlap
Rock Rapids20.02132.221 US 75 south (Union Street) – Sioux CenterEastern end of US 75 overlap
OsceolaWilsonEast Holman
township line
43.27069.636 Iowa 60 – Sibley, Worthington, Minn.Interchange; Iowa 60 exit 53
46.81275.337 US 59 – Sanborn, Worthington, Minn.
DickinsonDiamond LakeLakeville
township line
70.095112.807 Iowa 86 – Milford, Lakefield, Minn.
Spirit Lake72.898117.318 US 71 southWestern end of US 71 overlap
township line
79.985128.723 US 71 north – Jackson, Minn.Eastern end of US 71 overlap
EmmetEstherville88.640142.652 Iowa 4 (9th Street) – Emmetsburg, Sherburn, Minn.
Armstrong106.496171.389 Iowa 15 south (4th Street) – RingstedWestern end of Iowa 15 overlap
106.611171.574 Iowa 15 north (6th Street) – Fairmont, Minn.Eastern end of Iowa 15 overlap
KossuthHarrison Township119.995193.113 US 169 south – Bancroft, AlgonaWestern end of US 169 overlap
Lakota126.407203.432 US 169 north – Blue Earth, Minn.Eastern end of US 169 overlap
WinnebagoNewton Township149.787241.059 US 69 north – Lake MillsWestern end of US 69 overlap
Forest City156.810252.361 US 69 south – GarnerEastern end of US 69 overlap
WorthDanville Township171.920276.678
I-35 / Iowa 27 – Des Moines, Minneapolis
I-35 exit 203
Manly178.931287.962 US 65 (Orchid Avenue) – Northwood, Mason City
MitchellOsage199.093320.409 US 218 north (North 7th Street) – St. AnsgarWestern end of US 218 overlap
Burr Oak Township202.740326.278 US 218 south – FloydEastern end of US 218 overlap
HowardHoward Center Township229.659369.600 US 63 – New Hampton, Rochester, Minn.
Vernon Springs Township240.645387.281 Iowa 139 north – Harmony, Minn.
WinneshiekDecorah257.655414.656 US 52 – Rochester, Minn.
AllamakeeLudlow Township271.230436.502 Iowa 51 south – Postville
Jefferson Township275.898444.015 Iowa 76 south – Marquette, Effigy Mounds National MonumentWestern end of Iowa 76 overlap
Waukon277.903447.242 Iowa 76 north (Main Street) – Eitzen, Minn.Eastern end of Iowa 76 overlap
Iowa 26 / Great River Road north (2nd Street) – New Albin
Mississippi River295.088474.898Black 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


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