2022 T-Bone Trail · Family Adventures · Iowa Food · Northwest Iowa · Roadside Iowa

Historic Hiking, a Green Jacket Burger & a Taste of Maryland in Lyon County, Iowa

*There’s Northwest Iowa and then there’s NORTHWEST Iowa. It’s where the prairie and plains can be experienced in a beautiful and historic way, and all with plenty of restaurants! Our visit to Lyon County was funded and sponsored by the Western Iowa Tourism Region. Some of the services, meals and goods were complimentary. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s Gallivant!

We need to be alert when we’re in Larchwood, Iowa and throughout Lyon County. Let’s coffee-up at Freedom Brew!

Lyon County, Iowa

Season 2 of The T-Bone Trail brought us back to the Northwest corner of Iowa and the area of our state that opens up to travelers with its own unique scenery. From the Rock River, Rock Rapids, Little Rock and communities in between……Well, you could say that Lyon County really rocks!

Stay Active

Lyon County won the championship when it came keeping us active this summer. Nearly 10 miles on my step tracker in just one day! Let’s take a look at where this Western Iowa march took us!

Island Park in Rock Rapids! Shady lawns, guest cabins, trails and a public swimming pool equipped with waterslides in this one picture alone. That’s potentially a full day right there. Imagine how convenient this getaway could be!
Rock River streaming by at Island Park. And yes…This park is on an actual island!
Bring those fishing poles! A wonderful day at the park is always made better by possibly mounting a fish on your wall from the Rock River.


The Rock River Golf & Country Club with those boundless skies greeting us for lunch in Rock Rapids! 1344 Harding Ave
Get ready to make a difficult decision after picking up the menu at Rock River Golf & Country Club. They have won awards for their burgers in back to back years!
Freshly grilled all beef burgers topped with delicious ingredients that are paced with cheesy, saucy and juicy bites on a freshly toasted bun!
It’s not all burgers that are making it to their tables! Cubans, French dips, adult grilled cheese and so much more that’s offered on their creative menu.
Boom! A bonus beef basket of steak tips at the Rock River Golf & Country Club! Click on the video below and see the confidence that the talented kitchen crew has when it comes to their award winning burgers!
Give this burger a green jacket! No, it’ll get too messy……
That’s an inviting view from the links in Rock Rapids.

Stay More Active

I’m telling’ya! Lyon County kept us busy and active during the whole trip. We found our way back to Lake Pahoja Rec Area and more of the area’s walking trails near Inwood.

Lake Pahoja Nature Center is positioned inside an unforgettable landscape.
There’s a world of natural wonders to observe inside this center. Lyon County truly has an incredible conservation program, and this building is a testament to the generations of locals and visitors that have helped to build it up.
You can also get some new clothes and show off your Lake Pahoja fashion statement! Justin Smith is the proud director and he knows all the ins and outs of this county’s splendor when it comes to the area’s natural wonders.
You can also get in touch with your competitive side when you’re at the Lake Pahoja Nature Center. Chess anyone?
One of the best photos we took all day long. The walking trail below was ready for us to enjoy this rec area on foot!
I adopted a walleye while I was at Lake Pahoja! This is also an educational center and you could say that I got “schooled” with this trip. For just $3 I was able to help keep the lake stocked with popular fish!


Just down the blacktop from both Minnesota and South Dakota is Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort! This was our second time checking into this fun loving resort, and they made sure everyone was having a great time. Parking lot was get fuller and fuller and it was fantastic feeling when I could relax in style. Thanks for hosting once again, Grand Falls!

Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort in Larchwood, Iowa was our Lyon County HQ for this Gallivant! Let’s get in here and see more of what this entertaining property offers to all their guests! 1415 Grand Falls Blvd 712-777-7777 (I love that phone number)
What’s your lucky number? Live action roulette included with other exciting games to keep those jackpot dreams alive at Grand Falls!
Those comfortable beds were very welcoming on this Lyon County day. We stayed active and these were just what we wanted to dive into here in Larchwood.
I just want to take a little nap! But I also want to play some blackjack!
The captain of the remote commands the flat screen TV in our room at Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort. I just hope she doesn’t turn off my favorite movie!
Please don’t turn the channel! This is the best part!
Feel like getting some shopping done? The Falls Golf Shop is stocked and ready for that suitcase of yours!
My favorite part of any casino! Grand Falls has a top notch sports book where you can “parlay” your getaway!
Ding, ding, ding, ding! One of the best sounds you can hear at a casino so take a seat and make it happen!
There’s plenty of ways to enjoy your stay at Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort. Soak up the Lyon County sun on this patio with a view of the course behind you.
Golfers call this a water hazard. I call it a nice touch on this popular course that golfers were enjoying with every moment of Larchwood daylight they had.
There’s endless horizons everywhere you go in Lyon County. Including this one from the tee at Grand Fall Casino & Golf Resort!
Enjoy a dip outside or inside! This is a good time to remind you that Grand Falls is a great option for the colder months of the year for the whole family!
Now, that’s a beautiful night in Northwest Iowa. This pool and patio at Grand Falls is even more inviting in person.

Stay Active Again

The miles keep racking up in Lyon County! One of the most scenic hikes I took all year long was at Blood Run National Historic Landmark.

Near Larchwood is this walk into Native American history with views you can only see in this corner of NW-Iowa.
The muddy creek side rippling through the grassland with the prairie sky above. I do believe this was the most stunning moment I captured at Blood Run on this day.
Into the valley below and past the old homestead. The remnants of this pioneer farm stirred my imagination more than anything on this hike.
Indian mounds seem to be around every turn at Blood Run. A short distance away is the Big Sioux River and South Dakota is visible from this vantage point. Click on the video below and listen to the sounds of Blood Run National Historic Landmark.

Let’s Eat Steak

We’re back to Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort for a gourmet steak dinner. It’s always a good bet to go all in at Ruthie’s Steak & Seafood!

Larchwood has a way of keeping you entertained and happily satisfied with some of the best cooking in the area at Ruthie’s. If you have a craving for a memorable surf and turf meal, then pack-up and head to Grand Falls Casino!
Some of the best mashed potatoes we had on the T-Bone Trail was right here at Ruthie’s in Larchwood!
A fabulous taste of the East Coast in Northwest Iowa. The Maryland Ribeye at Ruthie’s! 14oz Delmonico style River that’s topped with a heaping portion of herbed butter lump crab and tender grilled asparagus. Absolutely delicious and cooked with care from a professional kitchen crew. Watch the video below and get your reservations booked at Ruthie’s!
Another delicious and beautiful moment in Lyon County!
Perfection with every slice and every bite. There’s nothing better when you can have the mouthwatering flavor of lump crap with a fantastic Ribeye like this one.

Keep Being Active

Just down the road from Blood Run National Historic Landmark is Gitchie Manitou State Preserve. Hikers, kayakers and folks who love to get the canoe on the water make their way to this preserve on the Big Sioux River. The banks will take you to the watery borders of Iowa and South Dakota the entire time.

It’s time to introduce Steve Simons with Lyon County Economic Development! He helped coordinate this Gallivant and made sure we hiked this scenic county as much as we could! Thank you to Steve and everyone at LCED for hosting us on Season 2 of The T-Bone Trail!
We made it to Gitchie Manitou just before sundown. The Big Sioux making a bend around the prairie and with our South Dakota neighbors in view.
The sunset seemed to shine over Gitchie Manitou just a little long than usual while we were there. Acres of prairie grass made their familiar sweeping sound as the breeze came through. Peaceful, scenic and imaginative.

Roadside America & History

Rock Rapids, Iowa is one of the best cities in the Midwest for public art lovers. Murals a plenty all around the Lyon County seat with many of them giving roadside attraction seekers a glimpse into the history of Rock Rapids.

When a community calls themselves City of Murals, then you know you’re about to see an interesting inventory of public art!
You get two opportunities for a roadside attraction stop in this section of Rock Rapids.
The 2014 Rock River flood devastated parts of Rock Rapids. This mural depicts what the community went through and it helps to show how resilient and focused the citizens are in Lyon County. They came together and helped to keep this community strong and thriving. An excellent piece of artwork illustrating an important event in Iowa’s history.
I would give anything to have the old fashioned soda fountains make a comeback. Thanks to Rock Rapids, we can still keep the dream alive! Click here on the City of Murals to see more of these colorful pieces of public artwork.

We naturally gravitate to museums when we want to get a taste of local history. Keep that habit going, but they’re not the only buildings that house some of a county’s precious historical nuggets of knowledge.

You might stumble upon this lovely piece of architecture when you’re mural hunting through Rock Rapids. The Lyon County Courthouse is one of the most unique of its kind in Iowa!
The Lyon County Courthouse may be home to offices and a courtrooms, with some of them you don’t want to be summoned to, but if you’re on the look out for historical buildings and premium architecture, then stop her for sure!
Look up and view the central rotunda from the very middle of the ground floor. This courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places and you can see how beautifully preserved it is when you first walk in.
This picture was taken from the second floor. Explore each level when you’re at the Lyon County Courthouse.
The plaintiff is clearly out of order your honor! Good thing Gigi knows some folks in Lyon County that can help her out of this jam…..

Go Shopping

There’s always going to be a place that I revisit each time I make it back to an area I’ve been to before. Rosie’s Boutique is where I will be getting a cup of coffee whenever I wander into Rock Rapids!

Rosie’s story is one of the most fascinating local businesses stories you’ll ever hear about in Iowa. Haitian materials like jewelry, artwork, clothes, stationary, the vary coffee you order along with so much more can be purchased here. These products are made by the people of Haiti which helps create incredibly needed jobs and revenue streams to a country’s people who sorely need these opportunities.

You’re sure to find something that someone will cherish at Rosie’s.
“Drink coffee and change the world.” That’s a concept I can get behind! Watch the video below and get another look at Rosie’s Boutique in Rock Rapids!

Bonus Beef

We had the pleasure to visit two farms while in Lyon County. This area is home to a lot of Iowa’s beef producers, and it’s always rewarding when they can take some time to show us around!

What a day we had visiting the cows! Our first stop was near the town of Little Rock with the Klingenbergs! Click on the video and see what they had to say when we showed up….
Just another day at the office in Little Rock, Iowa!
The Altena family was another group of Lyon County producers that welcomed us to their farm. Just outside the town of George is their farm and unforgettable NW-Iowa landscapes like this. Click on the video below and watch the Altena father and son combo give me yet another beefy education in Lyon County!
I’m always ready for a lesson or two when I visit the farm.
Curious cows wondering what I’m up to. Just randomly standing in the ditch, ladies. Don’t mind me…

We spanned much more of Blood Run and Gitchie while we were in Lyon County, and this was my main goal. That and experiencing more of the areas restaurants! Those trails, grasslands, sunny horizons, old trees, animated wildlife, streams and rivers seemed to call out to me. Hearing the soft prairie breeze supplies moments that I can only feel in Lyon County. There’s still a lot to keep exploring and discovering here and I want to set my heading for more of Lyon’s beauty.

Make your reservations for Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort on their website.

Be sure to like the T-Bone Trail-Western Iowa on Facebook!
Keep bringing home the bacon, George Locker!

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