Effigy Mounds National Monument

The Effigy Mounds in Northeast Iowa are full of mystery. What inspired Native Americans to build mounds in the shapes of birds and bears, along with conical and linear shapes?  Who was buried there? Why did they stop making them?

Look closely and you will see a row of conical mounds.

Look closely and you will see a row of conical mounds.

The Effigy Mounds National Monument has 206 known mounds, some of the very few left in the world. And yet amazingly, they are open to the public and visitors can walk right to them.

Walking the trails decompresses your sense of time as you breathe the fresh air and feel the atmosphere. You can easily imagine Native Americans making their pilgrimages to build the sacred mounds. The trail map and the mowing around the mounds makes them easy to locate and identify. You’ll find yourself wondering, ‘how and why’ these mounds came to be.

The walking trail to the Effigy Mounds.

The walking trail to the Effigy Mounds.

There are over two thousand acres in Effigy Mounds National Monument, so pick up a trail map at the visitor’s center, plan your trek and go. It can be a rigorous walk, so here are some helpful tips before you embark on this adventure:

  • Have on sturdy walking shoes
  • Bring a water bottle
  • Spritz yourself with bug spray
  • Plan on spending at least an hour or two – you won’t want to be rushed
  • Bring your camera to take photos of some of the most spectacular views of the Mississippi River, the brochure gives great tips on scenic points.
Scenic overlook of the Mississippi River.

Scenic overlook of the Mississippi River.

Three of the mounds are accessible directly behind the visitor’s center.  So even if you only have a few minutes or need wheelchair accessibility, the Effigy Mounds are immediately available for viewing.

The Visitors Center at the Effigy Mounds National Monument

The Visitors Center at the Effigy Mounds National Monument

Start you planning here or on traveliowa.com and be sure to share your thoughts photos with us if you make the journey!

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