Family Adventures · Museums and History · Northeast Iowa · Outdoors All Year · The Mud Belt-Traveling the Mississippi

“Their Spirits Will Watch Over You While You Are Here…”


Effigy Mounds National Monument-Harpers Ferry, IA: Allamakee County (Our 48th County)

On a mission to a festival in nearby Garnavillo, IA, we found ourselves visiting one of Iowa’s most sacred areas. We had plans throughout Clayton County, but there is always time to stop and explore one of our nation’s national monuments.

Near the small town of Harpers Ferry and in one of the most beautiful regions of America is a national monument devoted to the elders of our Native Americans. Overlooking the great Mississippi River and Yellow River is Effigy Mounds and their wonderful interpretative center. This national monument is right on the Great River Road and free of charge to anyone who wants to enter the center and trails.

We have sought out many of Iowa’s Native American sites, landmarks, and monuments whenever we can find them. Effigy is one of the most incredible and intact sites we have in North America. The hiking trails wind up and down the bluffs revealing a part of Iowa a lot of people don’t imagine. Dense forests meet powerful rock formations with the all the history of native people and the pioneering history of the country.

One of the most beautiful views anywhere on the Mississippi River can be seen at Effigy Mounds.

The words on the headline of this post say and mean a lot to us which can be read as you enter the hills. We have taught our kids a lot about the nations that guarded our home and still do. They know that even if the areas aren’t marked that we should do our best to respect it especially near highlands close to a river as there is sure to be remains of their elders below us. So many times travelers see the signs of our National Park system and think that they’ll visit the next they’re in the area. I know I’m guilty of that. But, it seems to be more important than ever to absorb these places even if its just for a break in the afternoon. Effigy Mounds is a place that we will be spending a lot more time at in the future. It’s open to all that remain respectful and that’s just what we plan to be all throughout journeys.

Be sure to read about more of our Native American landmarks in the communities of Iowaville, Dubuque, Agency, Ottumwa, Toolesboro and Keokuk.


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