Plan A Field Trip
A visit to Effigy Mounds National Monument can have many benefits. Activities can be curriculum based and designed to meet your specific needs. Programs based on the American Indian mounds feature two -mile round trip hikes highlighted by visits to bear-shaped effigy mounds. There are plenty of opportunities for your students to experience an exhilarating hike up a relatively steep trail and handle historic objects, tools and furs - combining exercise of the mind with exercise of the body! Other trail walks are available that feature trails sloped appropriately for wheel chair and other mobility impaired visitors.
* Seasonal Ranger Staff are available on a regular basis each year from May through mid-October. Reserved tours in late April and late October are limited to intermittent ranger availability.
The Monument offers a wide variety of cultural and natural resources within a magnificent setting along the high bluffs of the upper Mississippi River. Groups are encouraged to make a self-guided field trip if a ranger conducted program is not available. At minimum, rangers can offer any group an orientation talk at the visitor center, a talk in the museum collection of ancient Indian artifacts, and a talk at a group of three conical (round) shaped burial mounds located within 100 yards of the center.
For more information on reserving a ranger conducted program - contact the Monument at 563.873.3491 Ext. 251.
The Monument's 15-minute film about how and why earthen American Indian mounds, especially effigy mounds were built. The film is suitable for our indicated range of students - third grade and up.
A one-mile walk along an accessible boardwalk trail leading into a wetland is also available. A visit to three conical burial mounds (no effigies) is included in this activity.
The museum includes a display of American Indian artifacts up to 2,000 years old.
Stones, Bones and Sticks
* Students and other visitors observe only; we cannot allow persons to handle and operate the complete weapon (launching a spear with the atlatl) due to safety concerns and NPS historic weapons policy.
Did You Know?
An important figure in the documentation of Iowa's effigy mounds was Ellison Orr. Born in 1857, Orr worked other jobs while pursuing research in archeology. After retiring at the age of 73, Orr began a career as an archeologist spending the next 20 years conducting surveys and excavations.