2022 T-Bone Trail · Family Adventures · Northwest Iowa · Outdoors All Year · Roadside Iowa

Touchdown Burgers, Loaded Hash Browns & Wild Rose Flavored Chips in Palo Alto County, Iowa

*One of the best counties in Iowa for a roadside attraction bucket list! Road trip season will be here before you know it and it’s time to start planning! Our visit to Palo Alto County was sponsored and funded by Western Iowa Tourism. The views expressed in this blog post are of our own. Now, let’s Gallivant!

Another Freedom Rock scratched off my list here in Ruthven, Iowa. This particular one with my favorite skyscrapers in the background…

Palo Alto County, Iowa

The northwestern counties of Iowa are home to some of the most memorable of roadside attractions in the Midwest. This includes a world record holder, but there’s plenty more to enjoy when you’re site seeing. There’s tasty, scenic, entertaining and refreshing stops the entire time in Palo Alto County!

Lunchtime in Cylinder

Don’t worry, ISU and UNI fans…The Haack’s Nest in Cylinder is friendly to anyone who’s hungry. It doesn’t hurt to have some black and gold on though…
Cheese balls and fries….Sign me up! Get a portion of both when we’re at the Haack’s Nest!
Cylinder is right in between West Bend and Emmetsburg so that means it’s perfect for a stop when you’re road tripping through the area. Click on the video below and see this double bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg making its TIG debut. Aka the Touchdown Burger!
Let’s go for two!

Lake Time in Ruthven

The little town of Ruthven has a beautiful way to get lost when you’re in Palo Alto County. Lost Island Lake can provide a long and scenic getaway this summer.
Iowa’s local nature centers are always handy for when you need a break while discovering some natural local history. Lost Island’s is beautifully designed and jam packed with interactive ways to increase your Palo Alto County knowledge!
The architects knew what they were doing when they designed the modern Lost Island Lake Nature Center. It feels like a rural Iowa lodge that can help you relax as you enjoy your wild surroundings.
Birding anyone? Take advantage of this past time at Lost Island Lake!
And there’s just one of several scenic vantage points all along Lost Island Lake!

Supply Up

Going camping? Traveling with a cooler? Or maybe you love to tour the state in search of meaty destinations like me! Ruthven Meat Processing is another Ruthven icon you don’t want to miss!
The best tour guides in Ruthven, Iowa! They showed me around and gave me the inside look of an excellent and very popular facility here in Iowa. Click on the video below and see these folks in action!
Look at the hands on JayJay!

Steak Night

We’re sticking to Ruthven for supper time with a juicy steak on the way at Bully’s Bar & Grill!
There’s nothing better than a Western Iowa salad bar before a juicy steak! Get both of these at Bully’s when you’re in Ruthven!
The surf and turf was on full display when our entrees arrived! Tender sirloin with delicious shrimp and my favorite Western Iowa specialty….Loaded hash browns!
Look at this plate of absolute beauty! Everything I love in every bite of these cheesy and crispy hash browns! See this meal up close in the video below all you steak and potato lovers!
Palo Alto County Surf & Turf!
They know how to grill-up a mean steak at Bully’s Bar & Grill!

Back to West Bend & the Grotto

We’ve visited the Shrine of the Grotto of Redemption several times, and we’ll always stop by when we’re in the area. It’s truly one of America’s greatest roadside treasures and I feel inspired with every visit to its grounds.
This always feels like a step into the coral reef beneath a faraway ocean. But it’s right here in Iowa above ground with the memorable West Bend skies always accompanying you.
One of the best observation points in all of Iowa.
The grotto changes colors with every passing minute of the day, making it a different site to see with each visit you make to West Bend.
The grotto is open 24 hours a day with its gift shop keeping daylight hours for all the visitors.
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church also keeps its doors open for anyone wanting to stop in. The worlds largest purple amethyst resides inside the Christmas chapel with an interpretive recording that illustrates the history of this grotto.

Emmetsburg Check-In

The county seat of Emmetsburg is where we landed for the evening in Palo Alto County!
I received a message to stop into The Cornerstone Bar & Grill and meet-up for a beer…Well, that’s exactly what this guy needed!
The proud owner with his proud beer! A Cold one in Emmetsburg has a ring to it…
The Cornerstone Pub & Grill has a refreshing variety of craft beers that includes some of Iowa’s local brews. If you’re a craft beer enthusiast then you found your destination in Palo Alto County!
That grin says it all. Thanks for the invite, Cornerstone!
Just a short drive from the main business district of Emmetsburg is the Wild Rose Casino & Hotel and where the Palo Alto evening would come to a close for this trip.
Always in the mood for chips! Wild Rose flavored!

We’ve stayed at the Wild Rose Casino-Emmetsburg during three road trips to NW-Iowa and it’s always been a welcomed site. Especially when you can take home more cash then you started with! An oasis doesn’t always have to be in a tropical destination…Sometimes it’s in the middle of Palo Alto County, Iowa with clean rooms and a lot of action from the blackjack tables!

Time for Breakfast

Look at those Western Iowa skies! Always best to be enjoying them with your favorites caffeinated beverage in the morning. DejaBrew in Emmetsburg got the energy burst fired up for me on a Palo Alto County morning!
Now for the morning’s main course at Kirby’s Café in Emmetsburg!
Ham and cheese omelet with buttery toast coming in for a much needed boost to our early adventures on this day.
There’s nothing like the taste of Belgium in the morning! Don’t be afraid to keep waffling at Kirby’s Café..
One more round of cheesy hash browns with a side of crispy bacon before we hit the road. Kirby’s Café made sure our next gallivant got off to hardy start!

We’ve planned trips to Palo Alto County and there’s been times when we randomly land in this NW-Iowa hub for golden road trip splendor. Each time has produced more of what this area has to offer while we enjoy the perks we’ve always come to expect with every arrival. And there’s always a local ready to pour a cold one!

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