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

    Effigy Mounds

    National Monument Iowa

Plan Your Visit

Sunrise at Fire Point

Sunrise at Fire Point Overlook of the upper Mississippi River

NPS Photo

Browsing the Visitor Center
or hiking the trails?

The Monument offers wonderful opportunities to view magnificent vistas, diverse wildlife, plants and trees (including 81.5 acres of prairie), and hundreds of ancient Indian cultural mound features. Visitor center hours vary seasonally, however, park grounds are open sunrise to sunset, year round. Use the links on the left side of this page to find detailed information on operating hours, touring options and ranger-led programs or park sponsored special educational public events.

A complete visit to the 2,526 acre Effigy Mounds National Monument can take a day of hiking along trails. To preserve the mounds and respect the sacred nature of the site, automobile tour routes are not available. Persons of all walking and hiking abilities are encouraged to visit the monument, however, the hike to the top of the bluff is limiting.

Varied landforms, 14-miles of relatively steep hiking trails and hundreds of preserved Indian mounds combine to make it hard to estimate exactly how much time will be needed to visit the Monument.

Accessible trails are available which allow for visits to a wetland habitat, a number of burial mounds.

A two to three-hour visit allows for viewing a 15-minute film interpreting the moundbuilders, viewing a museum collection of ancient American Indian artifacts, browsing our bookstore, utilizing accessible options or hiking a relatively steep two-mile trail loop leading to several burial and effigy mound groups.

A brief one-hour visit allows for viewing the film, museum exhibits, bookstore and three burial mounds. A short walk can also be taken along the accessible boardwalk (wetland) trail.



There are no driving roadways. All access is by walking / hiking.

Visitors can access all of the park walkways and trails, sunrise to sunset, on their own (self guided). There is no requirement to be accompanied by a Ranger - only the option and opportunity to join a ranger when advertised.

 
Kids Hiking Along Fire Point Trail
Hiking along the Fire Point Trail
NPS Photo
 

Did You Know?

Great Bear Effigy Mound Group

In 1880, Alfred J. Hill and Theodore H. Lewis formed the Northwestern Archeological Survey for the purpose of surveying mounds in the Upper Mississippi Valley. Lewis spent eleven field seasons in Iowa and was the first to map mounds in the present Effigy Mounds National Monument.