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

    Effigy Mounds

    National Monument Iowa

Things To Do

Effigy Mounds visitor center is located at the base of 400 ft. limestone bluffs which overlook the upper Mississippi River.

Effigy Mounds National Monument visitor center is located at the base of 400 ft. limestone bluffs which overlook the upper Mississippi River.

NPS Photo

Begin at the Visitor Center

Access to the Monument's natural and cultural features begins at the visitor center, which is located along the Mississippi River at the base of towering limestone bluffs. A 15-minute film interpreting the story of American Indian moundbuilding cultures, highlighting the "Effigy Mound Culture", is featured in the center's auditorium. Explore temporary exhibits, a children's "please touch" display, a formal museum exhibit displaying ancient Indian artifacts - and an educational bookstore.

 American Indian Mounds - Fire Point

Early Woodland Indian Burial Mounds overlooking the upper Mississippi River at Fire Point.

NPS Photo

Walking and Hiking Trails

Touring the Monument involves short walks along accessible trails or extended walks along steep hiking trails. Due to the sacred nature of the site as an American Indian burial and ceremonial ground, there are no automobile tours available.

A Fire Point Trail Guide is available; ranger guided walks and hikes are scheduled throughout the summer and intermittently through the rest of the year.

Merle teaching stones, bones, and sticks to kids

Ancient American Indian tools Demonstration


Programs and Activities

A wide variety of ranger conducted activities and special events are offered throughout the year.

Two-mile hikes to Fire Point featuring American Indian mounds are offered daily throughout the summer. Other activities include wetland / riparian walks, tallgrass prairie hikes and ancient American Indian tool and weapon talks - including atlatl demonstrations. Special events include living history "Moonlight Hikes".

Click HERE for a list of events.

Did You Know?

Marching Bear Mound Group lies beside the route of the Military Road

Soldiers built a military road that eventually extended approximately fifty miles, connecting Fort Atkinson with Fort Crawford. The road — which passed through the monument's South Unit — was one of the first government-authorized roads within what would become the State of Iowa.