Half the fun of driving somewhere is finding a new, unexplored route. This scenic ride takes motorists on a tour of mid-Missouri that includes barn quilts, Clydesdales, and some mighty fine wine. Short on time? We factored in a short cut.

Budweiser’s iconic Clydesdale horses are born and raised on Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville.
Photo courtesy of Warm Springs Ranch

Mid-MO Motor Tour

135 (or 185) miles | Routes Main Street, 98, 40, I-70, E, 124, 240 (shortcut), 3, 129, 24, 41

This trail offers a bit more flexibility than others. You can take the full 185-mile journey through beautiful mid-Missouri scenery, or you can take a shortcut across the Boonslick Loop. Keep an eye out for the Boonslick region’s barn quilts; you can spot as many as twelve on this route.

Set out from Boonville, stopping in at the Visitor Center and River, Rails & Trails Museum to learn about the various restaurants, shops, and attractions you can visit, like the unique Mitchell Antique Motorcar Museum.

Head south on Main Street, turn left on Bingham Road (Highway 87), turn left on Highway 98 to cruise into Warm Springs Ranch, where the Budweiser Clydesdale horses are born and raised. Reservations are required.

Next, retrace your route and go north on Main Street, over the Missouri River on the Boonslick Bridge and follow Highway 40 past New Franklin, Rocheport, and Midway. You may want to stop and take in the view from Les Bourgeois Vineyards in Rocheport, or browse through the Midway Antique Mall. 

Connect with Interstate 70 for a short drive east until you reach the next exit at Stadium Boulevard. Turn north out of Columbia on Route E and travel to the town of Harrisburg.

Turn west onto Route 124, and follow it straight on to Route 240 just outside Fayette. Check out Ashby-Hodge Gallery. Back on Route 240, you’ll have about five miles to decide whether to take the shorter route or lock in the long haul.

THE SHORTCUT: Turn west on Route 240 and cross the Missouri River at Glasgow. You’ll connect with Route 41 just northwest of Arrow Rock.

THE SCENIC ROUTE: Take Route 3 off Route 240 and proceed due north through Armstrong to Roanoke, where you’ll connect with route 129. Take Route 129 to Salisbury, turn west on Highway 24, and enjoy the ride to the Grand River. 

At De Witt, turn south on Route 41. You’ll go over the Missouri River at Miami, Missouri, then continue about fifteen miles to Marshall. Route 41 turns east outside of the Marshall city limits. Time it right, and you might be able to catch a play when you pass through Arrow Rock at the Lyceum Theatre, one of Missouri’s oldest professional theaters. 

Finally, turn south onto Santa Fe Road (Route 41) through Blackwater and on to Boonville, where you can try your luck and unwind at the Isle of Capri Casino. 


  1. Boonville Visitors Center
  2. Warm Springs Ranch, Boonville
  3. Les Bourgeois Vineyards, Rocheport
  4. Midway Antique Mall & Flea Market, Midway
  5. Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art, Fayette
  6. Beckett’s, Glasgow
  7. Chariton County Historical Museum, Salisbury
  8. World’s Largest Pecan, Brunswick
  9. Van Meter State Park, Miami, Missouri
  10. Bucksnort Trading Company, Arrow Rock
  11. Lyceum Theatre, Arrow Rock
  12. Sappington Cemetery State Historic Site
  13. Isle of Capri Casino Hotel, Boonville

Look for Barn Quilts while on the trail.

Article originally published in the Missouri Life’s Scenic Rides & Drives Guide 2024.