This place is simply amazing. It’s rich with history, full of amazing scenery, and one of the best hikes you can go on in Iowa.
Effigy Mounds Eagle Rock Trail offers a 4.1-mile loop trail.
Along the way, you'll see beautiful wildflowers (in season), wildlife, and native bird species.
The view from the outlook is stunning.
Here, you'll see the Mississippi River in all its glory. This is also an excellent place to spot bald eagles.
The plants and animals you'll see here are common in the Upper Mississippi River valley. White-tailed deer are a common sight, here.
As you walk the meandering trail, watch for native plants.
Specifically, you'll see Wild Sweet William, Great Blue Lobelia, and Swamp Milkweed.
The construction of Effigy Mounds during the Late Woodland Period of 1400-750 B.P. is a regional cultural phenomenon.
The man-made mounds are in the shape of bear, deer, birds, lynx, turtle, panther, or bison. The Effigy Moundbuilders constructed these sites for burial purposes. This national park is actually an ancient cemetery.
For the American Indians who built the mounds, they were ceremonial and sacred sites.
Archaeologists can only guess, and they believe that this series of mounds indicated territories and choice hunting grounds. There are 20 American Indian tribes currently culturally associated with Effigy Mounds National Monument.
Little Bear Mound Group
This specific mound is 40 feet wide and 80 feet long. In this area, the mounds are shaped like birds and bears. Other shapes can be found in southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and southeastern Minnesota.
This national park was founded in 1949.
There are a total of 13 miles of well-kept walking and hiking trails, here. The North Unit and the South Unit are separated by the Yellow River.
The thought and planning that went into constructing these mounds is a testament to the resourcefulness and dedication of the early American Indians.
This park is the ideal combination of natural beauty and ancient history.
One of the mounds here is the largest known bear mound in the world.
Great Bear Mound is 138 feet long and 65 feet wide.
This view from Eagle Rock is very popular.
Eagles actually nest here along the river. You have the best chance of seeing them between November and March.
You can bring your dog with you on the trail, but for their safety and for the peace of mind of other visitors, keep it on a leash at all times.
Also, please be aware that this is truly a natural area. Bugs, including mosquitoes, and poison ivy, among other dangers, are absolutely present, here. Dress appropriately and use bug spray in warmer weather.
When you visit this national monument, please remember that all natural objects and archaeological items are protected by law.
Translation: you might find cool stuff. Don't take it with you.
Effigy Mounds National Monument is located just three miles north of Marquette on Iowa 76. The official address is 151 Highway 76, Harpers Ferry, Iowa.
The visitors' center is open daily, except for some holidays. Enjoy the picnic areas along Iowa 76 just south of the visitors' center.