“ceremonial & sacred mounds”
The mounds preserved here are considered ceremonial and sacred sites by many Americans, especially the Monument's 12 affiliated American Indian tribes. A visit offers opportunities to contemplate the meanings of the mounds, the peoples who built them and the relationships to their modern descendants. The 2,526 acre Monument includes more than 200 American Indian mounds situated in a natural setting, and located within the one of the most picturesque sections within Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area and along the "Great River Road" of the Mississippi River - a National Scenic Byway.
I had never heard of the effigy mounds throughout the country until I moved to the Midwest, but they are amazing and interesting to anyone interested in history or Native American culture. Effigy Mounds National Monument has a wonderful collection of these mounds on the bluffs over the Mississippi. The hikes to get to them involve some elevation gain, but my 8- and 5-year olds did the shortest 2-mile loop without difficulty. The views along the hike were incredible, as are the views on the drive to the park. (The town of Marquette, IA, just south of the park is a beautiful river town that deserves a stop, too.)
The visitor center has a nice small museum that gives you an overview of the park and a primer on the mounds if you are unaware of their history. As always, get a ranger led tour if you can. They add a lot to the experience.
This is an incredibly scenic trip. Just be careful not to be distracted from driving, cause it's pretty easy, especially in fall when the leaves are changing colors. If you're traveling with your family purchase a park passport. It's a great souvenir and really fun to collect.
We took our 3 young kids here and hiked a good deal of it to see the mounds. The bear mounds were the most impressive. Pretty neat to see how they shaped mounds to look like bears. The hike up to these mounds directly off the visitor center is pretty steep and a lot of up hill climbing before you get to the top to see mounds and get a great view of the Mississippi River. It is very well maintained and has a lot of wildlife if you pay attention. The visitor center itself was very nice and actually had nice selection in the gift shop. The museum inside was small but the displays were very well done and worth the look.
Our family loves National Park System. Their sites never disappoint. Like the others we have been to visit, Effigy Mounds is no different. Well maintained, well preserved, clean, thought out and informative. As always the Rangers were very knowledgeable and their "customer" service was fantastic. We took a tour hike with one of the Rangers. We learned so much about the site, why it exists, why it is important, the history of the people, the mounds and the geology of the land. The land is beautiful. The hike we went on had a magnificent view of the Mississippi river.
What a great experience for my family. A lot of walking! The staff was very informative; very pleasant.
Worth it! Nice walk and got to see a nice outlook of Mississippi River.
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Effigy Mounds National Monument
- Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 9:00 pm
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