• A quiet summer walk through the Marching Bear Group of effigy mounds

    Effigy Mounds

    National Monument Iowa

Plan A Field Trip

Historic Tools Demonstration

Historic Tools Demonstration

NPS Photo

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.


Entrance to the Monument is free for all groups. Program reservations are limited by the availability of ranger staff.

* 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.



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E-MAIL REQUESTS FOR MAILING (GENERAL) PRINTED INFORMATION:

Explore the website for a variety of materials and information - including photos, the park map and information contained in our full color park brochure. The teacher's section contains a large volume of information, and is not restricted to "teachers".

This information can be copied, printed and / or downloaded.

The materials we mail out upon request are: the one page (double sided) full color park brochure, calendar of events, a few of the posted "site bulletin" publications and the teacher's curriculum guide publication (although that too is available via download).

Specific topical / research requests are welcome and handled on a case by case basis.

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Indian Mounds at Fire Point

Indian Mounds at Fire Point (One-Mile from the

NPS Photo

Earthshapers Film

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.

Trail Hikes

A two-mile hike along the Fire Point Trail leads to over 20 mounds, including conical, linear, compound (linear and conical combined as one mound) and effigy. This activity interprets the lives of woodland moundbuilding peoples, their use of and impact on the environment and how this relates to us today.

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.

Museum Tour

The museum includes a display of American Indian artifacts up to 2,000 years old.

Stones, Bones and Sticks

Hands on activity featuring a variety of ancient tools used by the moundbuilding cultures made from stones, bones and sticks! We include those made from other materials as well such as pottery.

Cultural Demonstrations

Students learn about weapons developed and used by the moundbuilders that enabled them to successfully hunt
large animals such as deer, bison and elk. Programs include rangers demonstrating the traditional use of weapons such as the "atlatl", or spearthrower.*

* 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?

Fire Point Mound Group

Stephen H. Long, of the U.S. Army's Topographical Engineers, explored and described the Effigy Mounds National Monument region in expeditions undertaken in 1817 and 1823. Long was one of the first to document the presence of mounds in the Upper Mississippi River Valley.